Sheriff: Remains of 5 people found in Hubbard home destroyed by fire
HUBBARD, Ore. – Investigators found the remains of five people inside a Hubbard home that caught fire on Tuesday, and deputies believe the fires were intentionally set.
The home belonged to Keith and Erin Kroeker, who live at the house with their three children. They have been unaccounted for since the fire.
Officials haven’t confirmed the identities of the deceased. So far, Marion County sheriff's officials have only confirmed that they recovered an adult male, and adult female, and three children.
"Of course, it does seem consistent that the five individuals are that of the Kroeker family. But positive identification can only be made by the medical examiner and that process is taking place currently," said Lt. Chris Baldridge of the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
Neighbors reported flames coming from the house on Fobert Road Northeast at about 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Arriving firefighters worked to put out fires at three buildings on the property. Fire crews reported finding a body while fighting flames inside the house.
"First and foremost I extend my condolences to the Kroeker family," said Sheriff Jason Myers. "While this investigation is not yet complete, I would like to thank and recognize the 100 plus first responders, investigators and support personnel from various local, state and federal agencies who continue to work tirelessly during this difficult and complex investigation."
The Kroeker’s twin 10-year-old boys and 7-year-old girl all went to Lincoln Elementary School in Woodburn.
The Woodburn School District's superintendent says grief counselors have been on standby at the school since school leaders learned the family was missing.
"We were shocked and saddened and since then we’ve been waiting for word to see what the final outcome is and what the extent of damage and potential loss of life is," said Superintendent Chuck Ransom.
Crews managed to salvage the garage, but the home and shed were a total loss. Deputies had to wait until the buildings were deemed stable and cool enough to enter before starting a death investigation. They also had to wait on a search warrant for the detached garage.
Investigators said it appears someone intentionally set the fires, and that they are not looking for suspects in the arson. The sheriff's office hasn't released any insight into how those fires were started, who set them, or why.
"We aren't prepared to comment on ... the evidence we found inside the residence. What I can confirm though is that we do not feel there's any immediate danger to the public,” said sheriff’s office spokesman Chris Baldridge.
“We have a lot to do. We have five deceased individuals, and we need to figure out what happened here."
The sheriff's office plans to resume its investigation on the property off Interstate 5 into the weekend.