One dead in Columbia City house fire

Maggie Nixon

COLUMBIA CITY — One person has died in a house fire in Columbia City.

Around 12:15 a.m. Friday, the Columbia City Fire Department was called to a house fire in the 900 Block of East Van Buren Street.

When firefighters arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames. Columbia City Fire Department was assisted by Columbia Township and Thorncreek Township Fire Department.

One person was discovered deceased inside the home, confirmed Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel.

The Post & Mail has found out that Rob Lee Brown, 41, of Columbia City, was the victim of the fire. Brown leaves behind two sons, a grandson, his parents, a brother, niece and nephew. Visitation is being handled by DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Visit for more.

"This is the first fire fatality in decades for the City of Columbia City," Daniel said.

The State Fire Marshall's Office is investigating the cause of the fire. The Whitley County Coroner will release the name of the deceased following an autopsy.

Daniel said the deceased's family has been notified and was on the scene earlier in the day receiving assistance from the American Red Cross, also on scene.