Questions remain in deadly house fire that killed two young boys

ORRICK, Mo. — Fire investigators on Wednesday had either not determined or not released the cause of a deadly fire in Orrick, Mo., where two little boys died Tuesday morning.

The Ray County Sheriff said that law enforcement had not yet talked to the parents of Roger Wayne, 3, and 21-month-old Ashton Michael.

The boys were trapped inside the burning house in Orrick, which is about 35 miles northeast of Kansas City.

The boys’ father, Randy Garrison said he returned home from a 24-hour shift around 6 a.m. Tuesday and went straight to bed. He later woke to the sound of his sons screaming at about 11:30 a.m. He told FOX 4 that the boys’ mother was not home.

“Woke up hearing them screaming at the top of their lungs,” he said. “Flames in my bedroom and flames in the hallway, flames through the whole house.”

Garrison said he first tried to bust through his bedroom wall but couldn’t. That’s when he ran into the hall and tripped.

“I fell over a bungee cord or something that was holding their bedroom door shut,” he said. “I ran out the back door around to the front, started ripping the sheeting off the house and trying to punch through that way and I couldn’t.”

Despite flash burns on his body, Garrison said he kept trying to reach his boys until he was overcome by smoke. He was taken to the hospital for burns and blisters but checked himself out and returned to the scene of the fire.

“The mother was in the house whenever I went to sleep this morning,” he said. “And I woke up to her not being here, but my kids were here. You’d think a parent would either wake up another adult in the house or take the kids with her.”

The children’s maternal grandmother said her daughter is in the hospital, heavily medicated and distraught over the deaths of her sons.

“”They were holding her back because she was wanting to go into where it was still … where they were at,” said Marjorie Long, grandmother.

Long said her daughter, Tammy Willis, and Garrison were not married. Long is upset about some of the things she felt Garrison implied about her daughter.

Long says her daughter told her that when she left the house, she woke up Garrison to tell him she was leaving. The grandmother says she was told that Garrison was awake when Willis left the house.

“She is very loving, very caring. She puts her kids before anything else,” Long said.
“She would starve herself to make sure that the kids had food, to go without things she needed to make sure that they got what they needed.”

Garrison said his children were everything to him.

“They were my rock, everything I had in life,” Garrison said. “The only reason I woke up everyday was for my boys.”

Garrison said he spoke with the fire marshal when he was in the hospital. Autopsies were performed on the children, but the findings were not released on Wednesday.

Garrison said his oldest son, Roger, was named after an uncle who died in a house fire in 1989.

Earlier coverage: