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Feb. 4, 2023

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Investigators rule out arson as cause of fire that killed 5 people near Capitol Forest

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OLYMPIA — A fire that killed five people near Capitol Forest was not intentionally set, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office announced in an update Tuesday afternoon.

Two adults and three children were killed early Saturday morning in the 8800 block of Sherman Valley Road Southwest. Due to the loss of life, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives was asked to investigate, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“Over the last four days, the scene has been investigated thoroughly,” Sheriff’s Office officials said in the update. “Investigators have determined the fire was not intentionally set, and is most likely accidental, but they are still working to determine the specific origin and cause.”

All five bodies have been recovered from the fire and medical examinations are set for Friday, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said Tuesday.

Although the coroner hasn’t officially identified those who died, a relative has identified the two adults, according to the Associated Press, citing a report from The Seattle Times.

Destiny and Steven Cox lived with their four children at their home at Sherman Valley Ranch, which caught fire Saturday, The Seattle Times reported.

Destiny’s step-aunt, April Karreci, told multiple news outlets that the couple was lovely and that a 13-year-old girl and two boys, ages 10 and 12, died with their parents in the fire, according to the report.

The couple’s eldest child, 14, was not at home at the time of the fire. Another girl, a friend who had been staying with the family, escaped the fire, according to the report.

About 6:30 a.m. Saturday, numerous fire units were dispatched to Sherman Valley Ranch and found the home completely engulfed in flames, with the five people inside.

Some pets also perished in the fire, but no livestock on the ranch were harmed, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

In the wake of the deadly blaze, a candlelight vigil has been organized and fundraising efforts launched.

The vigil is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, at Tumwater High School stadium, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family. A second GoFundMe page has been started to help Sherman Valley Ranch. Both have already exceeded their original fundraising goals.

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