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Pasco Tribune

Report: Pasco twins started fatal fire with lighter

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 10:24 AM
NEW PORT RICHEY -

A fire that killed 3-year-old twins in November may have been started by the children playing with a lighter in a bedroom, according to a death investigation report obtained by The Pasco Tribune.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office report also details the twins' mother's account of her frantic efforts to put out the fire, which began on a bed in the single-wide mobile home at 10637 Wabayo St. in the Moon Lake community.

The mother, Shannon Garza, told investigators she had been in the kitchen making breakfast and washing dishes about 8:30 a.m. Nov. 12 when she decided to check on the twins, Miah and Micah Shaver, and found them in her bedroom.

As soon as she walked into the room, Garza said she saw a small fire on the corner of a mattress of her queen-sized bed. She said she ordered the children out of the room and tried to extinguish the fire with a 12-ounce soft drink can.

When that didn't work, Garza tried to drag and push the flaming mattress out of the mobile home, but it became stuck in the doorway, the report said.

With the fire spreading to the doorframe, Garza said she slipped past the mattress so she could try to pull it from outside.

That didn't work either, and with the flame spreading even farther the mattress now blocked Garza's entrance back into the home, the report said. Grabbing a crow bar she found on the ground outside, Garza said she smashed out a window and screamed for the twins to come to her, but received no response.

A neighbor who heard the screams tried to help, briefly going inside the mobile home but having to retreat because of the smoke and intense heat, the report said.

The sheriff's office issued a statement Wednesday saying that the medical examiner's office reported that the children's deaths were caused by smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.

The deaths were ruled accidental, the sheriff's office reported.

The detective who interviewed Garza said in his report that she "appeared to be under the influence of some sort of substance," and that her speech was slurred and she had trouble completing sentences.

The report also said investigators found what appeared to be remnants of a woman's purse, a crack pipe, a hard drive as well as a torch lighter in the bedroom where the fire started.

The children were found inside one of the bedrooms in the trailer, not the master bedroom where the fire began. Miah's body was near a window, while Micah's body was found inside a closet.

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