Jacqueline Sit, News 9
FOSTER, Oklahoma – The Garvin County Sheriff's Office and other local authorities are investigating a possible double murder suicide that left three people dead including a Pernell volunteer firefighter.
Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes said they believe the volunteer fireman killed his two twin children, set the house and fire and then killed himself.
The fire department was called to the house fire, that spread to the surrounding area, at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday on the west side of Elmore City. A Garvin County Sheriff's deputy arrived at the scene because of a suicide threat that came from the home.
It took fire crews over two hours to put out the 10-15 acre fire because of the winds.
"The wind out of the north is 20-25 mph hour and really fueled the fire, and also caught the pasture on fire. Several other fire departments showed up and were able to stop the fire at the country road and prevent any more damage, but the house was a total loss," said Pernell Volunteer Fire Chief Brent Balentine.
Chief Balentine said three bodies were found after the fire was put out. One of the victims was a volunteer firefighter who had been with the department for eight years.
"This firefighter was a great volunteer. He was a great guy. He was always there when you need him," said Chief Balentine.
The Garvin County sheriff said the father of the five-year-old twins was a well respected man in the small town of Foster and had been dealing with a divorce.
"The sheriff's office had no indication of any type of domestic situations at this residence or any violence or any threats before this morning," Rhodes said.
Balentine added fire crews were frantic when they showed up and heard one of their own guys was in danger, but it was too late.
Sheriff Rhodes said investigators believe the other two bodies that were found in the home are the fireman's five-year-old children. No names have been released pending the medical examiner's investigation.
"It's hard on communities like this, not only to mention many of the first responders here today knew of the residents. When they arrived on the scene, where they know somebody that's tough on them, not only to do their job like they always do, but it's emotional for them to try to deal with it," said the sheriff.
Local church pastors are helping the family and firefighters at this time.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, Elmore City Police Department, the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal and Garvin County Sheriff's Office are all assisting in the investigation which will continue into Sunday.