OROFINO, Idaho -- A fire killed five Orofino residents overnight, in an event the fire department says is unlike anything it’s ever dealt with.
The fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. Saturday in the house in the 200 block of Cedar Street.
Fire Chief Mike Lee says flames fully engulfed the house. The fire was so intense that it was more than 30 minutes before crews could go inside to look for victims.
Allen West, 31, Rosemary Wooster, 39, Trevor Wiley, 17, Zachary Wooster, 13, and Colby Stedman, 13 were presumably found dead inside the home.
All of the victims were sleeping at the time. A friend was staying over for a birthday party. The fire department found their remains once firefighters were able to enter the house.
Crews believe an overloaded extension cord on the front porch that was plugged into an electric grill sparked the fire, but the cause is still under investigation. The Idaho State Fire Marshal, Orofino Police Department and Idaho State Police are assisting with this case. The house was not equipped with any working smoke detectors but the fire damage was so extensive that crews could not be certain.
Chief Lee says his department does not have any records of a fire this devastating since it began documenting them in 1911. Fifteen of the firefighters on this team have children. Lee says crisis counselors will be available to them.
A positive identification of the victims and final cause of death will be determined after an autopsy this week.
The School District is holding a fundraiser to help pay for the funeral costs of the victims.