Cause Of Deadly Local Apartment Fire Can't Be Determined

By: Rachel Cox Email
By: Rachel Cox Email

KILLEEN (January 7, 2013) --- An almost 4-month long investigation into an apartment complex fire in Killeen that left three people dead is closed for now, an investigator with the Killeen Fire Marshal's Office said Monday.

The investigator said there was lack of evidence to support a specific cause or to show whether the fire started accidentally or was set intentionally.

Officials said unless more information surfaces, the cause will be listed as undetermined.

Autopsies performed in Dallas on the woman and two men who died in the apartment fire in September showed the cause of death, but not the manner, according to findings released Friday.

The one-page reports from the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences show that Fort Hood Pvt. Christopher Micheal Sroka, 21, died of burns and the "inhalation of products of combustion," and that Fort Hood Pfc. Seth Michael Soulsby, 19, and Kristy Renee Moncrief, 34, died of a combination of burns and smoke inhalation.

But the reports list the manner of death in each case, whether accidental or otherwise, as undetermined.

The three bodies were found on Sept. 14, 2012 in an apartment at the Casa Tejas Apartments in the 1300 block of North Gray Street in Killeen.

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

The fire, which leveled the 24-unit complex, leaving 30 homeless, evidently started in the apartment in which the three bodies were found.

The complex was in violation of several fire codes when it burned, Killeen Fire Chief Jerry Garner said.

Garner said that although the complex was built to code in 1974, the complex would not have passed inspection today.

The complex hadn't had a fire inspection since it was built, which is legal because had not undergone any remodeling that cost more than 50% of its value.

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