Three Victims Of Deadly Local Apartment Fire Identified

By: Rachel Cox and Christopher Shadrock Email
By: Rachel Cox and Christopher Shadrock Email

KILLEEN (September 17, 2012)—Two of the three people who died early Friday in a fire that raced through a Killeen apartment complex were identified Monday as Fort Hood soldiers.

Pvt. Christopher Micheal Sroka, 21, of Findlay Ohio and Pfc. Seth Michael Soulsby, 19, of Mogadore, Ohio were found dead inside the apartment in which the fire started early Friday.

Killeen police later Monday identified the third victim as Kristy R. Moncrief, 33.

Sroka joined the Army in February and had been assigned since August to Company B, 115th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

Soulsby joined the Army in June 2011 and since December 2011 had been assigned to Troop G, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Firefighters found the bodies of the three victims early Friday in a search of the downstairs apartment at Casa Tejas Apartments where they believe the fast-moving blaze that leveled the 24-unit, two-story complex started.

Firefighters initially recovered two bodies from inside the apartment, but about two hours later they reported finding the third victim.

Bell County Justice of the Peace Bill Cooke pronounced all three dead at the scene and ordered autopsies.

The fire displaced the other 34 residents of the complex, for whom the city and the American Red Cross opened a shelter at the Killeen Community Center at W.S. Young and Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard.

The Red Cross was providing food for the residents.

Donations may be made through the Red Cross either by calling (254) 200-4400 or at RedCross.org.

The Salvation Army is accepting donations as well and says clothing and other household items can be dropped off at its facility at 801 East Rancier Ave.

The fire was reported just after midnight Friday morning at the complex in the 1300 block of North Gray Street.

The first crews on the scene reported that the entire complex was in flames and that some residents were trapped.

Early reports indicated some residents were jumping from balconies to escape the flames.

At one point 45 Killeen firefighters and 12 police officers were at the scene.

Much of the complex was little more than rubble by 2 a.m.

By 3 a.m. firefighters were able to begin to use ladders to access the upper floor and searched each apartment.

Killeen police spokeswoman Carroll Smith said at least two people were taken by ambulance to a local hospital but she was not able to say how badly they were injured.

Smith said 34 people were taken by bus from the scene to the shelter.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.


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