Roof collapse made fire rescue efforts impossible

Tri State Online

Two boys who perished in Fort Mohave blaze still were inside home when deputies arrived

Published: Monday, December 27, 2010 11:30 PM MST

FORT MOHAVE — New details have come to light in the case of a structure fire Sunday morning that resulted in the deaths of two Fort Mohave boys.

According to Mohave County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman…

Trish Carter, which is handling the death investigation, the boys, 11-year-old Zachary Stevens and 7-year-old Justin Stevens, were still inside the residence in the 5600 block of Ruby Street when deputies arrived having seen the flames from a few streets away.

Engine companies from Fort Mojave Mesa and Mohave Valley Fire Departments were dispatched immediately.

When deputies arrived, 15-year-old Cameron Anderson come running from the residence, telling deputies that his family was still inside. Deputies jumped over the fence and located two toddlers and two adults lying on the ground outside the residence. The adults, parents Tammy Anderson and Jeff Stevens immediately advised that their two deaf sons were still inside the residence.

Re-entry into the home was impossible as the roof had collapsed.

The heat and flames were so intense, said Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Marshal Darrel Raburn, that the plastic cover lenses on the lights of one of the fire engines melted. Firefighters kept the fire from spreading to neighboring structures and got knocked the fire down within 40 minutes.

The five survivors, Tammy Anderson, Jeff Stevens, Cameron Stevens, 4-year-old Erin Stevens and 2-year-old Leila Stevens, were treated and transported to Valley View Medical Center for further medical review. The bodies of the two boys and their pet dogs were later found in the ashes of the home.

The bodies were removed by the Mohave County Coroner. Autopsy results are pending.

The home, a car, a covered utility trailer and detached garage were completely destroyed. The estimated monetary loss of property is approximately $90,000.

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, though Fort Mojave Mesa Fire Department Battalion Chief Jody Hall, who is handing the fire investigation, said Sunday that preliminary investigations appear to point toward an accidental cause.

The family has established a spokesman, local community organizer Jacob Abeytia, to handle calls and offers of assistance. He can be reached at or by e-mail at . Also, a fund has been created to accept donations at Horizon Community Bank in Fort Mohave under the name Ruby Avenue Christmas Fire.

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