Dozens of flowers and stuffed animals line a fence around a home in Bullhead City as the city is mourning the loss of five children who died in a fire.
Heartbreaking Fire At Christmas
The fire happened at a home near the Colorado River, northwest of Hancock and Ramar roads. Police say a 13-year-old boy, a 5-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl, and a 2-year-old boy were all siblings and were in the home along with an 11-year-old boy relative who was visiting at the time. All five children were in the same upstairs bedroom of the two-story duplex.
The fire happened at around 5 p.m. Saturday at the two-story duplex.
Patrick O’Neal was among the neighbors who rushed over after seeing smoke coming out of the home. He said about a dozen men gathered hoses and broke windows to try to get into the burning house. At the time, they didn’t know if anyone was home.
“We were screaming at the tops of our lungs,” O’Neal told reporters Monday. “We didn’t see nothing. We didn’t hear nothing. There are many guys out here who would have went into that fire if we would have known there was children … We did everything we could.”
Investigators in northwestern Arizona said Tuesday they have not determined what started the blaze, which began Saturday evening in the downstairs foyer area.
The initial fire investigation revealed the fire originated in the downstairs foyer area, most likely making it impossible for the children in the upstairs bedroom to get out of the residence safely, according to fire officials. Flames and smoke traveled up the only staircase inside the home, preventing the children from escaping.
The names of the five victims were withheld pending official identification by the Mohave County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Due to the children’s relation to an employee with Bullhead City Fire Department, fire investigators from the Lake Havasu City Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms were called in to assist the Bullhead City Police Department with the incident, Fromelt said.
A memorial vigil for the five children was scheduled for Wednesday night at a nearby park while friends of the families have raised more than $11,000 as of Tuesday to help with funeral expenses.
The investigation team asked that any witnesses who have photos or videos of the fire contact the Bullhead City Police Department at 928-763-9200 and ask to speak with detectives.