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Wednesday, January 3, 2001
11 Perish in House Fire - Layton Davis Road


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Oak Orchard, DE

House Fire Kills 11 From Family, Jan 2001

Posted May 16th, 2008 by Stu Beitler


By Christopher Thorne - Associated Press Writer.

Oak Orchard, Del. (AP) -- Eleven family members were killed early Wednesday by a fire that filled their southern Delaware home with smoke, state police said. The victims included five children ranging in age from infant to 6, said their grandfather, WILLIAM WRIGHT.

Investigators from the state fire marshal's office had not yet determined the cause of the 3 a.m. blaze.

The first firefighters at the scene found "extremely heavy" smoke billowing from the eaves of the house, said PATRICK MILLER of the Indian River Fire Company. The blaze gutted the house, said state police Cpl. BRUCE HARRIS. However, the exterior bore little evidence of the destruction. "If the windows were not broken, you would not be able to determine anything transpired here," MILLER said from the scene.

Firefighters were unsure whether the rural house was occupied until they entered and found body after body, MILLER said. Rescue workers tried unsuccessfully to revive several victims at the scene, officials said. "I think any number of people is too many, but this is quite shocking," HARRIS said. WRIGHT said the victims included his daughter, 28-year-old JACQUELIN WRIGHT, the mother of the five children. JACQUELIN'S mother, ELTAM SHELTON, and her grandmother, EVELYN SHELTON, also died, he said as he stood across the street from the house. Identities of the other victims were not immediately available.

The white house sits across from a corn field, in a cluster of several homes near Indian River Bay, about 45 miles southeast of Dover, the state capital. It was the second time in two months that fire killed a family in southern Delaware.

In October, five family members, including four children, were killed in Broadkill Beach. Old Orchard is about 45 miles southeast of Dover, the state capital.

Constitution Tribune Chillicothe Missouri 2001-01-03 - List Of Those Killed In The Fire: JACQUELIN WRIGHT, 28, and five of her children: JEREMY WRIGHT, 9. LATASHA ODUMS, 7. TERRANCE ODUMS, 4. BERLINDA FERDINAD, 23 months. BERTONY FERDINAD, 11 months. ELTA MAE STREET, 50, MRS. WRIGHT'S mother. EVELYN SHELTON, 83, MRS. WRIGHT'S grandmother. JODY SHELTON, 31, ELTA MAE STREET'S daughter. LASHANDA SHELTON, 7, daughter of JODY SHELTON. CHRISTOPHER SHELTON, 5, son of JODY SHELTON.

It is believed someone tried to cook a late night meal in the kitchen and possibly fell asleep. Investigators said hot oil probably ignited and the fire then climbed the kitchen walls, consuming oxygen, creating a smoky fire with few flames. A woman from the house dialed the "911" number at 3 a.m., but the phone went dead before the call was completed. 

Researched and Transcribed by Stu Beitler.