Family Of Bartlesville Fire Victim Ready For Investigation To End
BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma - It's been three and-a-half months since five people died in a house fire in Bartlesville. Federal investigators have been helping local authorities, but family members still don't know what caused the fire.
Now, the mother of one of the victims is ready for the investigation to be finished. Family members of the victims say they are both frustrated and confused because it's been so long since the fire and they still don't have any answers.
Casey Merchant wears a reminder everyday of her 19-year-old-son, Kevin Lomax.
"It's still rough. It's a daily struggle," Merchant said.
Lomax and four others died on January 4th when his home caught fire.
"I never thought my kid's life would end like that, she said.
Destiny Daughtery, Jeremy Blair, Shelby Sanders, Kevin Lomax, and William Wright were all asleep when the fire started. Three other people staying on the property escaped without injury.
Lomax's mother said the last three and-a-half months have been the most difficult of her life.
"I've had to put my kids on medications, I've had to take two months off work, I've had to go to school with my kid every day for the first two months because he couldn't make it," Merchant said.
Bartlesville Police asked the ATF to help investigate and look for the cause. A spokesman for BPD will only say the case is still active and they won't release any details of what investigators are learning.
The district attorney's office said they have not seen a report.
"It's heartbreaking, and I try not to bother them because I know they're doing their job, but, I would like an answer and so would the other families," said Merchant.
Merchant said she doesn't know what to think about the fire; was it an accident or did someone set it on purpose.
"I can't imagine somebody being so evil to want to do that. I can't comprehend it," she said.
Merchant said as soon as the investigation ends she'll tear down the house. Until then, she said, she'll continue to remember her son for his sense of humor and big heart.
"I'm a patient person, so I'm being patient because I want them to be thorough, but, in the end, I don't know if we'll get any answers," Merchant said.
A memorial for all of the victims, that includes a balloon release, will be held on May 4th. That's the four-month anniversary of the fire. It'll be at Sooner Park in Bartlesville.