Onslow house fire results in fatality

     On Friday, Nov. 18, at 4:15 a.m., the Jones County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call of a house fire. The fire was located at 205 Summit Street in Onslow.

   The City of Onslow does not have its own fire department. The Wyoming Fire Department was the first department to respond. (Wyoming is located approximately 3 miles south of Onslow.)

   The Wyoming Fire Department went enroute at 4:23 a.m. and arrived on scene at approximately 4:29 a.m.

   Prior to their arrival, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office received an additional 911 call reporting that there was a child trapped in an upstairs bedroom.

   At the time of the fire, there was one adult and five minor children in the home.

   In addition to the Wyoming Fire Department responding, the Oxford Junction Fire Department, Olin Fire Department, and Monticello Fire Department also responded. Upon fire personnel’s arrival, multiple attempts were made to reach the trapped victim, but were unsuccessful due to the intensity of the fire and heat on both floors of the residence.

   One adult and four minor children were able to self-extricate through a window on the main floor of the residence. The surviving victims are identified as:

   • Brittany Qualls, 35, mother to all five children

   • Female minor, age 8

   • Female minor, age 3

   • Male minor, age 1

   • Female minor, age 1

   The Midland Ambulance Service, Olin Ambulance Service, Monticello Ambulance Service, and an emergency response vehicle from the Lisbon-Mount Vernon Ambulance Service all responded to the scene. A mass casualty incident was declared. Qualls and four of her children were all transported to Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa with smoke and heat-related injuries. The female minor child, age 1, was later transported by ground to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. She was released Friday night. Qualls and her three other minor children have since been released from JRMC.

   The fire fatality is identified as 10-year-old Geniyah Morgan. She was located by firefighters in an upstairs bedroom. She has been transported to the Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office in Ankeny, pending an autopsy.

   Geniyah was a fifth grader in the Midland Community School District. The school district has been notified and has crisis staff available.

   A statement on the Midland school’s Facebook page: “All of us at the Midland Community Schools are shaken by the loss of our student and extend our deepest sympathies to the family and those closest to them. The district counseling staff, Grant Wood AEA crisis team members, and other local agencies will be on hand and will be embedded within our elementary building for those who may need additional support in the days to come. In addition, students will be encouraged to utilize crisis team member support as needed.”

   The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to assist the Sheriff’s Office with the investigation. The preliminary investigation has determined the fire’s origin was in the kitchen of the residence, and at the time, is believed to be accidental in nature.


   The Sheriff’s Office would like to also thank the Jones County Emergency Manager Brenda Leonard, American Red Cross, Foundation 2 Mobile Crisis, Alliant Energy, and the private citizens who provided aid to all of the emergency responders involved in this incident.


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