JACKSONVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - A stovetop created the fire that claimed the life of a mother and her four children in Jacksonville back in late March.
Thursday, after months of waiting, we finally hear details of the tragic day. And this report was not easy to get. Today's THV asked for details since the deadly fire in March, but no one in authority would give us the report.
We finally had to request it under the Freedom of Information Act last week and paid to get the documents Thursday.
We've learned Marilyn Beavers was apparently cooking something on the right front burner of the stovetop -- and it caught fire. The fire spread from the stovetop up to the cabinets. Then, according to the Marshall, Beavers managed to put out the fire but suffered severe burns to her arms, head and back in the process. She and her children, ages four, seven, nine and eleven died from smoke and soot inhalation and were found on March 22, 2012. A toxicology report shows Beavers' blood alcohol level at .14 at the time of her death. The apartment did have one smoke detector, but the report says its wires were cut.
The fire department responded two separate times to 3 South Simmons Drive, the first came around 6 a.m. after they received a call from Beavers neighbor.
"Dispatch: 911 Where's your emergency?
Neighbor: I just smell a strong smell of smoke, maybe from a neighbor?
Dispatch: You're near, you're near John Harden or so, actually across the ah, across the interstate we have a fire. In the same area and the wind, the wind would carry it that way.
Neighbor: I'm smelling it in my house and I don't smell it in my living room, I smell it in my daughters room and the bathroom.
Dispatch: You smell it in your house?
The fire department's second response to the scene came just before eight, after a housing authority maintenance man got into the apartment and found the bodies.
Here is what the Jacksonville Housing Authority worker told police in a recorded interview,
"We took the screws out opened the door. We got keys to get in, we opened the door and went in and by that time, we knew. Smoke hit us in the face and of course Tom said, he opened the back door, he said man check the bedrooms so I checked the bedroom. He checked the bedroom and at that point we realized they was dead."
The coroner examined the bodies at 9:45 a.m. and determined the family died at least four hours earlier. The initial call went out to the fire department at 5:50 that morning. Today's THV called the Pulaski County Coroner's Office to get a more precise time of death, but they could not answer our questions Thursday.
According to the fire Marshal's report, the organization's Bureau of Professional Standards is conducting a separate investigation of the first response by the Jacksonville Fire Department.