Investigators say candle caused fire that killed Indianola couple

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INDIANOLA, Neb. – State Fire Marshal investigators have determined the cause of the Dec. 28, 2017 house fire that claimed the lives of an Indianola couple was an unattended candle.

Authorities said the fire was accidental in nature.

According to Indianola Fire Chief Tom Davidson, the family dwelling was fully engulfed in flames around 12:03 a.m. Thursday, and firefighters spent most of the day on scene battling the flames.

Two people, Douglas Swanson and Debra Swanson, husband and wife, both 61, of Indianola, died as a result of the house fire.

The Swanson’s daughter, Laura Swanson, 34, of Denver, Colorado escaped from the home unharmed and placed the 911 call to report the fire.

She was in the home visiting her parents for the holidays.

At the time of the report, she believed her parents and her younger sister, Faith Swanson, 24, who was also living in the residence with her parents were all unable to escape from the residence.

Faith was later found alive in Furnas County Nebraska and was brought back to McCook where she was re-united with her sister at the Red Willow County Sheriff’s Office late in the afternoon.

"These people are very honest people, they'd do anything to, I mean they'd do anything for ya, I mean they're very honest people," says Lonnie Wood, a family friend.

The origin and cause of the fire remain under investigation by the State Fire Marshall’s Office.

Responding agencies were Indianola Volunteer Fire and Rescue, McCook Fire and Rescue, Red Willow Western Fire, Red Willow County Sheriff’s Office, Red Willow County Attorney, Nebraska State Fire Marshal, and Nebraska State Patrol.

The Fire Marshal’s office has concluded their investigation. The house was deemed a total loss.