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Prognosis good for other Mitchell house fire victim

Crime-scene tape runs around the outside of the house Monday at 222 W. Sixth Ave. in Mitchell, the site of a Friday fire.

The parents of the 6-year-old boy who suffered smoke inhalation in a house fire Friday in Mitchell now expect he will make a full recovery.

Jacob Sehnert remains hospitalized at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, but is doing well, according to a statement released Monday afternoon from his parents, Jordon and Jessica Sehnert.

The couple's other son, 3-year-old Jaxon Sehnert, died Saturday at Avera McKennan from smoke in-halation suffered in the fire.

"We are overwhelmingly saddened by the loss of our son," says the family's statement, released by Avera McKennan.

Jessica Sehnert was treated and released from Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell for smoke inhalation after she narrowly escaped from the family's burning and smoke-filled home on Friday night.

Jordon Sehnert, who recently returned from a military deployment to Iraq and Kuwait, was not at home when the fire took place.

The Sehnerts' statement expresses their thanks for the outpouring of support and specially recognizes Mitchell's firefighters, paramedics and police, as well as staff at Avera Queen of Peace and Avera McKennan.

Also treated for smoke inhalation were two men, Toby Kippes and Clinton McQuistion, who attempted to rescue the two children from the burning home after hearing Jessica Sehnert's cries for help before firefighters arrived.

Authorities said Sunday that initial investigations revealed the fire originated near the dryer in the home's laundry room.

As of Monday, investigators had not concluded anything further regarding what caused the fire and were waiting to speak with insurance representatives, said Mitchell Fire Marshal Marius Laursen. A report on the incident will likely be completed later this week, Laursen said.

Laursen said he saw no smoke alarms in the home during his initial inspection, but has since been told by a Sehnert family member that the house was equipped with smoke alarms. Laursen could not confirm or deny the family member's claim.

The Mitchell Fire Division and Mount Vernon Fire Department both responded to the fire. The Mitchell Department of Public Safety is investigating the incident with assistance from the state Fire Marshal's Office and the state Division of Criminal Investigation.

A fund to assist the Sehnert family was created Monday at Wells Fargo in Mitchell. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo location. Donations to the fund are also being received at LifeQuest and Career Connections.

Both Jessica Sehnert and Jeanie Morgan -- mother of 9-year-old Iszabella "Bella" Morgan, who was killed in a two-vehicle car crash March 24 in Mitchell -- work at LifeQuest. A nonprofit community organization, LifeQuest provides services and support to people with developmental disabilities.

"We're getting a little weary of the tragedy," said LifeQuest Executive Director Daryl Kilstrom. "But on the other hand, we're stepping up like we always do."

Kilstrom said his staff members have been "more than willing" to help out, especially when a co-worker has experienced a tragedy.

"We just lean on one another," he said, adding that with about 180 staff members helping about 150 clients, there are a lot of people available to offer help.

"We have a lot of people here who can help share the load," Kilstrom said.