Serious Questions Remain as Fire Victims Mourned

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Family, friends and strangers gathered at the Fairfield home where four young children died last week when their home caught fire.   And while there was only sadness and tears for the loss Sunday afternoon, serious questions remain about the deaths. 

    Investigators said the two women who were the victims' mothers were outside the home in the back parking lot when the fire started.

    "They weren't smoking or drinking," neighbor Clarence Carraway told KCRA.  "They was just talking on the phone. One of them was talking on phone. The other was waiting for me to give them a phone charger."

    The victims, three girls and one boy, have been identified as Robert Christopher Charles, Jr., 4, Nevaeh Nunn, 2, Natalie Rogers, 2, and Keviana Morgan, 1.

    At least one candle burning on a television set in a front living room was cited as the probable cause of the fire. PG&E confirmed power had been disconnected to the apartment for failure to make payments.

    Crime lab technicians from Berkeley analyzed the scene.  According to investigators, as many as three candles were burning in the room where the children were left alone, and there were combustible materials nearby.

    Police hope to forward the case to the district attorney this week. It's unclear what charges, if any, might be filed in the case.

    According to neighbors, the mothers -- sisters Latisha and Shetera James -- may have also been using extension cords from other areas to get electricity into their home.

    Tanika Lane, a close friend of Latisha James, confirmed Carraway's story but then leveled direct blame against Shetera James, who Lane claimed was supposed to be watching the children while Latisha was outside.

    "She got antsy and left the kids," Lane told KCRA.  "She claims she blew the candle. I don't believe she blew the candle out."

    Shetera James, who lost three children in the fire, told reporters that she did everything she could to get them out and wishes she could have done more.

    "All three of my children are gone," James said. "I miss my babies."

    Both mothers were taken to a hospital after the fire and were treated for burns.

    KCRA.com contributed to this report.