The State Fire Marshal’s office says it can’t determine what started a fire that killed four children at the Lake of the Ozarks late Tuesday.
Evidence indicates that the fire at the Compass Pointe condominium began on the wooden breezeway outside the door of the apartment where four children died. From there, Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike O’Connell said it spread inside.
“The door to that apartment was then opened when they were looking out and trying to fight the fire and that caused the fire to spread in through that open doorway,” said O’Connell. “The burn patterns show that the fire spread in on the floor and the walls as well as in the attic that extended from the breezeway over the apartment.”
O’Connell said investigators had to withdraw from the apartment because the floor was near collapse.
He told Missourinet several things could have started the fire.
“It’s possible that it could have been smoking materials. The air conditioners were mounted outside the apartments on that breezeway, so there’s also an electrical possibility, so those are a couple of possibilities,” said O’Connell.
The fire destroyed enough evidence of its cause that investigators are calling its cause, “undetermined,” which O’Connell says is not unusual.
A report on the fire will likely be released in a couple of weeks.
“The investigators from [Department of] Fire Safety as well as the police department have done interviews with everybody who was involved. They’re putting together those interviews and other findings and investigative materials,” said O’Connell.
The children who died have been identified as Kairi Helton and Zeza Bradshaw, both two, four-year-old Lee Ann Hendrickson and five-year-old Joshua Hendrickson. They were celebrating the birthday of one of the children.