Wood stove examined as possible cause

Monday, December 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TALIHINA, Okla. (AP) _ Investigators are focusing on a wood-burning stove as the possible cause of a fire that killed three people in a mobile home north of here.

``At the current time, the cause is undetermined, but our suspicion is the origin of the fire is around the area of the wood stove,'' Robert Doke, director of the state Fire Marshals office in Oklahoma City, said Monday.

Amanda Steward, 28, and her children Catherine, 7; Christopher, 5, and Nora, 4, died in the fire about 5 a.m. Saturday.

Amanda Steward's husband, Leland Steward, 28, was flown to Hillcrest Medical Center, where he was treated for burns and released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Leland Steward escaped from the house and went to a neighbor's residence to report the fire, Doke said.

Steward later told firefighters his wife had yelled to him to go and call the Fire Department and told him she would get the children out of the house.

``When he returned to the house he expected to find his wife and children in the yard, but they never did exit the house,'' Doke said.

The house was on fire and had begun to collapse when firefighters arrived, Talihina Fire Chief Bill Morgan said.

The badly-burned bodies of Amanda Steward and the children were found in or near a bathroom and they may have been trying to make their way to a window in the bathroom when they were overcome by smoke, Morgan said.