While the final report is still weeks out, the Missouri Division of Fire Safety has confirmed that it appears the fire that killed four children in Lake Ozark April 19 started outside the structure.

While the final report is still weeks out, the Missouri Division of Fire Safety has confirmed that it appears the fire that killed four children in Lake Ozark April 19 started outside the structure.

The Missouri State Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire at 1636 Carol Road, but according to Missouri Department of Public Safety Communications Director Mike O’Connell, there is nothing suspicious about the fire. With the deaths of four children involved, there will be a review of the incident per standard protocol required under state law. That means it could be a few weeks before the final report from the fire marshal’s office is finalized.

Four brothers — Tyler Otto, 14, Cason Otto, 8, Max Otto, 5, and Levi Otto, 4 — along with their two pets were killed.

The cause of the fire at this time has been listed as undetermined, non-criminal.

Fire investigators often work through a process of elimination. There are certain things that cannot be ruled out as sources including discarded smoking materials, an elevated fire pit and barbecue, to name just a few, says O’Connell. Based on the statements of the mother and her boyfriend, they were entertaining several guests outside before 9:30 p.m. April 18, the evening prior to the early morning fire.

The Lake Ozark Fire Protection District was dispatched to the home shortly before 1 a.m. April 19. The first firefighters on scene reportedly found a single-story home with walk-out basement approximately 75 percent engulfed in flames, according to information from the LOFPD.

Access to the home was difficult due to high winds increasing the intensity of the fire, fire officials said. The flames had already spread to the stairwell of a neighbor’s house.

Shortly after firefighters arrived on scene, fire officials said the adults of the residence — the mother and her boyfriend — arrived home, after having been out for the evening, and told firefighters the children were inside. At some point, firefighters attempted to make entry to search for occupants but were forced back out of the residential structure by the flames.

It was too late to save the boys.

Crews were able to extinguish the fire at the neighbor’s home before it spread further in that structure. The home at 1636 Carol Road was a total loss.

The use of fire alarms or what their status may have been is unclear, and fire officials doubted whether any could be recovered. 

LOFPD was assisted by Osage Beach, Sunrise Beach. Eldon, and Rocky Mount fire agencies. Camden County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri Highway Patrol and Miller County Ambulance also assisted.