STERLING – Smoke inhalation is the preliminary cause of death of the three people who died Monday in an apartment fire just west of the downtown.
Celina Serrano, 13, and her cousin, Shayla Walker, 8, of Davenport, died at the scene at Western Apartments, 908 W. Third St., in the fire that broke out around 12:30 a.m.
Neighbor Carrie A. (Hall) Hose, 49, also was killed.
Their autopsies were conducted Tuesday; toxicology results are pending, which is why the results are so far preliminary, Whiteside County Coroner Joe McDonald said.
Celina's mom, Alma Walker, 35, who is Shayla's aunt, and Walker's other daughter, 12-year-old Teleah Serrano, were taken to OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, where Walker remains in critical condition and Teleah in good condition, a spokesman said this afternoon.
Nine other occupants escaped. The cause of the fire at the two-story complex is under investigation.
Hose, who attended Dillon School in Rock Falls, and Rock Falls and Prophetstown High School, is survived by her daughter, Courtney Adams of Sterling, her son, Brandon Adams of Milledgeville, her parents Jerold and Kathy Hall of Rock Falls, her sister Amy Manzo of Sterling, and eight grandchildren.
Private family funeral services will be held Thursday; McDonald Funeral Home & Crematory in Rock Falls is handling arrangements.