Investigators have determined that a Dec. 23 house fire in Pratt that killed nearly 2-year-old twin brothers was accidental and resulted from “careless and improper cooking methods causing a grease fire in the kitchen,” according to a state report obtained Friday.
The report, compiled by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and obtained by The Eagle through an open-records request, said that although fire investigators have closed their portion of the investigation, “Pratt Police Department has ongoing investigation for potential criminal charges to be presented to the County Attorney.”
Pratt Police Chief Gary Myers said Friday that he couldn’t comment on the fire marshal’s report because of the ongoing police investigation. The county attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.
Destry Ibarra, the 24-year-old mother of the two boys, Jayce and Jasper Ibarra, said Friday she would not comment on the fire marshal’s report.
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The first firefighter to arrive at the burning house that afternoon, in his personal car, saw the mother on the porch roof and black smoke spewing from a second-floor window where she was perched, the report said. She appeared to be covered in black soot and “was yelling that her babies were inside and she needed to get them out,” the report said.
The boys’ 34-year-old father, Ramon Ibarra, has told The Eagle that he had gone to the store and returned home to find a crew fighting the fire. He saw his wife outside and learned that his sons were still inside, he said the day after the fire.
Autopsies found that the boys, 23 months old, had “thermal injuries” to their skin and “visible soot in the airways,” the report said. “Jayce Ibarra had a CO level of 84% with Jasper Ibarra having a CO level of 88%.” The CO level is a byproduct of burning materials.
Destry Ibarra was taken to a hospital in Pratt and transferred to a Wichita hospital. “No burns were noted; medical staff stated her CO level was 3%,” the report said.
Two firefighters suffered slight burns to their ears through their equipment but didn’t require medical treatment.
According to the report’s detailed narrative of the emergency response, the arriving firefighters had been told that two children were on the second floor. The firefighters encountered heavy smoke and intense heat.
At one point, part of the second floor collapsed into the kitchen area, and one firefighter almost fell through because of a lack of visibility, the report said. Another firefighter, on the first floor, “was able to exit just prior to the collapse.”
Firefighters handed both boys out through a second-floor bedroom window where their mother had been perched outside when the first firefighter arrived.
An EMS crew determined that both boys had died at the scene.
Fire investigators estimated damage to the structure at $25,000 and damage to the contents at $10,000, the report said.