Bartlesville Police Ask ATF For Help Investigating House Fire

Thursday, January 9th 2014, 6:27 pm
By: News On 6

One of the victims of the deadly fire in Bartlesville was laid to rest Thursday.

Kevin Lomax was one of five people who died early January 4.

The ATF was at the scene of the fire Thursday morning looking for clues as to how it started.

Bartlesville Police say they are making progress in their investigation but they are still trying to find the cause of the fire.

1/4/14 Related Story: Five Bodies Discovered In Bartlesville House Fire

The memorial on Sunset Boulevard is getting bigger every day.

It sits in front of the home where five people died early that Saturday morning; Kevin Lomax, Destiny Daugherty, Shelby Sanders, and Jeremy Blair.

A 17-year-old boy also died, but police are still waiting for positive identification before releasing his name.

ATF arrived at the scene on Wednesday with a specially trained dog.

Bartlesville Police say because of the number of deaths it was important to get help from the federal agency.

Bartlesville Police Captain Jay Hastings, said, "They, obviously, have more resources available and they deal with this kind of stuff every day. They get called out on a lot of fires to determine the cause.

Hastings says investigators want to know why only one person made it out of the house.

He says they've looked at the doors and windows, and while they have come to some conclusions police are not ready to release what they have learned.

Two people who were on the property that morning have been arrested.

Richard Ratliff is charged with jumping bail, and John Johnson has been charged with obstructing a police officer.

Investigators say he was interviewed several times about that morning but his stories haven't been consistent.

News On 6 also learned that in August the Bartlesville Police Department's drug task force searched the house for illegal drugs.

Police won't say if they found anything or if that could be connected to this weekend's fire.

Police say until they can determine a cause they are treating this as a crime, but urge the community not to jump to any conclusions.

"I know there's a lot of rumors going around the community, but we have to have some facts," Hastings said. "You know, you have to have physical evidence to support what people are saying.

There are a number of fundraisers on Saturday to help the families pay for funeral expenses.

A silent auction is being held at New Life Church and a chili dinner is taking place Saturday night at the Elks Lodge.