North Bay News

Investigators: Fairfield fire started with candles

Thursday, April 29, 2010
Fairfield mother Shetarra James who lost her three children in an apartment fire disputes that the fire started with candles. Fairfield police discuss fatal fire, missing woman Fairfield fire that killed 4 kids was ruled accidental. Authorities say a fire in a Fairfield apartment building that claimed four young children was accidental. Four children died and two adults were injured in a fire in Fairfield. A Fairfield apartment fire killed four children and injured two adults.

In the North Bay, investigators say four children were killed when they were left alone with burning candles.

PG&E had cut off power to the apartment where the family lived. The gas was left on, but the electricity had been cut off due to a lack of payment. Investigators say mothers of the four children left candles burning and they left the children alone while they went outside to a nearby parking lot.

Luana Morgan is the grandmother of 16-month-old Keviana Michelle Morgan, one of four young children killed Wednesday night in a Fairfield house fire.

"She was a beautiful little girl, you know. She was walking, she was saying little words and yesterday she talked to me on the phone and she told me that she loved me," said Luana.

"I didn't know there were four kids in there, she just kept saying her daughter was in the house," said Former NFL player Rudy Sylvan.

Sylvan is one of several neighbors who rushed to help when he heard a woman screaming in front of the burning home on Delaware Street. He tried, but couldn't get inside.

"There was so much smoke and I could see this huge flame just right at the front door. It was crazy," said Sylvan.

"I grabbed the hose at one of the units and just kept spraying until the fire department got here," said another neighbor.

In addition to Keviana Michelle Morgan, the children have been identified as Natalie Rogers, 2, and Nevaeh Nunn, 2, and 4-year-old Robert Christopher Charles.

According to family, the mothers are sisters -- Litisha and Shetarra James.

"I've known them since fourth grade," said Kuana Benjamin.

Benjamin said the James sisters were both foster children. They had successfully transitioned from that program to living independently with their own children.

"Every time I did see Litisha and her little baby girl they were happy," said Benjamin.

Investigators confirmed the family was using candles for light because the power had been turned off inside their apartment. The four children were inside alone, when the fire started.

"It's been ruled an accidental fire. We will be completing a police investigation as is common in any death situation," said Fairfield Police Lt. Darrin Moody.

"I just hugged my daughter last night and felt bad that the lady wasn't going to be able to sleep with her daughter that night. It's a horrible thing," said Sylvan.

A memorial is growing in front of the fourplex. The mothers were treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation at a local hospital.

The fire department has ruled this accidental, but the police department will continue to investigate to see if any charges are warranted.

ABC7 spoke to Shetarra, the mother of three of the children. She wanted to clarify a few things that have been reported. Police have said that the two women were outside the apartment when the fire broke out. Shetarra said she was in fact outside because she was charging a cell phone. She saw the fire and tried to go into the apartment and did everything she could to try to grab her children, but couldn't. She said she missed her babies and that she wished they were here.

She also said contrary to what the police are saying, she is saying that she and her sister did not leave candles burning inside the apartment.

Many neighbors say they had no idea there were four kids living in the apartment. "I think that it is very curious. It is quite awkward that's four kids that were in the apartment, but you never see them come outside," said neighbor Bretia Aaron.

Many who didn't even know the family came to pay their respects.

There is a larger memorial set for Sunday, May 2.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
fairfield, fire, PG&E, north bay news, laura anthony
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