A dad was out buying gifts and groceries for Christmas when his home caught fire, killing his four children and another young relative who were inside.
Officials in Bullhead City, Arizona, said they first received the call about the two-story duplex fire at 4:54 p.m. Saturday and arrived five minutes later, the police department said. By 5:03 p.m., the main body of the fire had been extinguished, with help from the victims' grandfather who works with the Bullhead City Fire Department.
Several neighbors reportedly tried to rescue the five children who were in the same upstairs bedroom, even placing an extension ladder up to the room, but no one inside survived, according to authorities.
The father of the four siblings who were killed — a 13-year-old boy, a 5-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy — told Arizona authorities he was gone for approximately 2.5 hours when the tragedy occurred, which also claimed the life of an 11-year-old relative who was visiting the family.
The Lake Havasu City Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) helped the Bullhead City Police Department investigate the incident.
Their initial findings revealed the fire originated in the downstairs foyer area and traveled up the home's only staircase, likely trapping the kids upstairs. But they said they're still trying to identify what caused the blaze and are using items from the scene to try to determine it.
"Now is the season where we should be spending time with our loved ones and embracing the joys of the holidays. However, our community is suffering, and the parents and loved ones of those who perished in this fire Saturday night are grieving," Bullhead City Police Chief Robert Trebes said in a statement. "Like you, we want answers, too, to try to understand what happened and bring some closure and peace to parents and families involved. We will update you when we have more information."
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com