Four people, including three teens, died in a tragic house fire in Collierville only days before Christmas. Two other people who were in the home went to the hospital with injuries but were later released, while some of those who tried to assist also suffered injuries. As officials investigate what caused the terrible structure fire, they are once again reminding people to ensure their smoke detectors work properly as the detectors may have saved lives.
Fire Broke out in Tennessee Home Just Days Before Christmas
On Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, at around 11 p.m. in the town of Collierville, Tennessee, a fire ignited in a two-story home located in a Memphis suburb. When firefighters arrived, they came upon a house engulfed in flames, with two people trying to rescue those left trapped inside.
Killed in the blaze were:
Kari Coudriet, 46
Sharron Naik, 17
Joy Naik, 15
Aaron Naik, 14
Kari Coudriet’s husband, Daniel Coudriet, jumped out a window on the house’s second story and yelled for help after his son, Cole, noticed smoke in the house. A neighbor grabbed a ladder and attempted to save people left in the house, but they were unable to rescue anyone.
Daniel and his son, Cole, went to the hospital for smoke inhalation. A police officer and a neighbor who tried to help were also taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation and minor burns, while three firefighters suffered burn injuries on their faces. All of the injured were expected to recover, with Daniel and Cole released from the hospital days after the fire. Daniel and Kari have a second son who was not in the home when the fire started.
“Danny and Cole were able to make it out of the home,” a statement from Collierville Bible Church said. “Kari was unable to make it out of the home and is now with our Heavenly Father. Danny was taken to the ER for minor burn treatment, but is expected to make a full recovery. Cole was taken to the ER for treatment and did not sustain any burns, and is expected to make a full recovery.”
Teenage Victims of TN Structure Fire were Visiting Over Christmas
The three teenagers who were in the house were not residents of the home on the 600 block of Autumn Winds Drive. Rather, they were a missionary family staying with the Coudriets over Christmas break from their boarding school, French Camp Academy in Mississippi. Their parents were in India.
“This is a loss, it’s just horrible,” said Collierville resident Chris Irons. “And it is not just because it is this time of the year; it is a tragedy any time it happens. Any loss of community members, citizens in your community, it doesn’t matter where you live. It’s a loss for society.”
Friends remembered Kari Coudriet as being giving and devoted to her family. A Facebook post from French Camp Academy called the teenage victims a blessing to the school’s community who were loved by the town.
Fire Alarms Possibly Not Working in Autumn Winds Drive Home
According to early reports, smoke detectors were not audible when first responders arrived on the scene, a sign they might not have been working. Later, officials said the smoke detector on the house’s first floor was working but the second-floor detector was not.
Officials Investigating Collierville House Fire’s Cause
While firefighters remind people to ensure their smoke detectors are in working order, investigators are looking into what caused the deadly blaze. Collierville Fire Chief Paul Witt said more information on the fire’s cause likely would not be available until some time in early January.
With only one working smoke detector in the home, it is possible the fire would have been less deadly if more smoke detectors worked, officials said.
Multiple funds have been set up to help the fire’s victims. Collierville Bible Church created a donation page for the Coudriet family through Sharefaith Giving, while Keith Potts, a family friend, created a Go Fund Me page. Potts’ page notes that the fire destroyed the Coudriet family’s home and all their possessions. Donations for the Naik family can be made through Global Banjara Baptist Ministries International. The children’s parents are reportedly traveling to the US.