Covering Louisiana

Mar 17, 2014 3:56 PM by associated press

Toddlers found dead inside burned house in Houma

Two toddlers, ages 1 and 2, were killed in a weekend house fire in Houma.

The Courier reports Houma Police have identified the victims as 2-year-old Romell Welsh Jr. and his 1-year-old sister, Ro'Miyah Welsh. An autopsy Sunday confirmed the children died from smoke inhalation. Mike Millet, an inspector with the Houma Fire Department, says the fire's cause is under investigation and may take a week to determine. The state Fire Marshal's Office is also investigating. The blaze occurred about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, authorities said. The children were pulled from the home after the fire was extinguished, about 30 minutes after firefighters and rescue workers arrived.

The Houma police and fire departments and the State Fire Marshal's Office will continue to conduct interviews throughout the week.

"At this point in time, it's just too early to say much of anything," said Lance LaMarca, state fire marshal district chief.

Investigators believe the fire started in the kitchen, near the home's back door, he said. It had not been confirmed whether the home had smoke detectors.

"It's my understanding they didn't find any smoke detectors in their initial investigation, so after interviews with the parents, if they determine that there was something or somewhere else they need to look, then they'll go back to the same place and look for that," LaMarca said. "When you're looking at a burnt residence it's kind of hard to find a little old smoke detector."

Asked whether the parents, Vaneshia and Romell Welsh, were inside the home when the fire broke out, police said only that the matter remains under investigation. Dozens of mourners have left stuffed animals, flowers and balloons along a white picket fence that surrounds the small house. A donation site has been started for the family at the website, youcaring.com. Search for the children's names.

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