ORRICK, Mo. -- The Missouri State Highway Patrol has joined the investigation into a house fire that killed two young boys in a small town in western Missouri.
Authorities have not determined what caused the blaze that claimed the lives of 3-year-old Roger Garrison and his 1-year-old brother, Ashton Garrison, on Tuesday afternoon. When fire crews arrived at the home in Orrick, a town of about 800 residents 30 miles northeast of Kansas City, the house was engulfed in flames.
Authorities have not determined how the boys died, The Kansas City Star reported.
The Ray County Sheriff’s Office asked for help from the patrol’s drug and crime control unit, said Sgt. Collin Stosberg, a spokesman for the highway patrol. The state fire marshal’s office and the Ray County coroner’s office also are involved.
The boys’ father, Randy Garrison, said he woke Tuesday morning to his sons screaming and his girlfriend gone. Smoke and thick flames poured through the small three-bedroom home as Garrison raced to reach his boys. He said a bungee cord or something similar was holding the bedroom door shut so he “started punching through walls in the house to their bedroom.”
“I ran outside and started ripping off the outside of the house, punching through walls, and still couldn’t get to my kids.”
Citing the ongoing investigation, Stosberg said he couldn’t comment on whether something had been holding the children’s bedroom door closed.
Garrison said he had arrived home from work and gone to bed around 6 a.m. Tuesday. He said the boys and his girlfriend were asleep on the couch.
“Whenever I woke up they were in their bedroom, and she was nowhere to be found,” he said. She was not identified.
Ray County Prosecutor Danielle R. Rogers said investigators have not submitted an investigative file for her to review.
Garrison said he was devastated.
“What would go through your mind after hearing your kids scream bloody murder and basically watching them die in front of you?” he asked.