Public Protection Cabinet
State Fire Marshal Completes Mt. Sterling Fire Probe

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, January 06, 2009  
Contact Information:  Jim Carroll, 502-564-5525
502-229-3484 (cell)

     The Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office has completed its investigation into the Dec. 24 house fire in Mt. Sterling that killed three children and a teenager.


       “We have concluded that the fire originated in a chair in the living room,” Fire Marshall William Swope said. “We were unable to find an ignition source. We found no evidence of an accelerant, so we have concluded that the chair was ignited accidentally.”


      Investigators ruled out the house’s electrical system as the cause of the blaze. There was also no heating source near the chair.


     Deputy Fire Marshal C.W. Cornett conducted the investigation on behalf of the State Fire Marshal’s Office.  He was joined by Kentucky State Police arson investigator Shane Barnes.


    Brothers Brandon, Wayne and Timothy Elam died in the fire, along with their cousin, Shirley Rothwell, who was babysitting them.


  The State Fire Marshal’s Office is part of the Public Protection Cabinet.