Investigators weren't able to determine what caused a fire that killed four brothers near Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, but they have a couple guesses as to what may have contributed to the blaze, according to a report released this week.
The four boys were home alone when a fire destroyed their home in the early morning hours of April 19 in Lake Ozark. Firefighters found the bodies of Tyler Otto, 14; Cason Otto, 8; Max Otto, 5; and Levi Otto, 4 as well as two pets.
Fire officials had said in April the cause of the fire may never be determined due to the extent of the damage, but in its report this week, the state fire marshal's office said either a discarded cigarette or an errant spark from a fire pit or grill could have started the fire, according to KRCG.
Investigators interviewed the boys' mother, Christina Brazil, and her boyfriend, Mike Andrews, for the report. The two had pulled up to the burning home as firefighters worked to put out the flames on April 19.
According to KMIZ, Brazil told authorities they had used an ashtray sitting on their wooden deck for smoking.
Andrews also said the family had used the barbecue grill and fire pit on the deck the night before during a cook-out with family and friends, Lake News Online reported.
A preliminary investigation after the fire indicated an ember from a nearby barbecue pit could have started the blaze. Andrews told authorities he threw water over two burning logs before he left with Brazil that night to go to a bar, according to KRCG.
While they were out, Andrews said they tried to call the 14-year-old on his cellphone, but were unable to reach him. It's unclear what time the call was placed, Lake News Online reported.
"A discarded cigarette, spark from the fire pit or BBQ grill were all unable to be eliminated as a cause of the fire," the report concluded, according to KMIZ. "This fire is therefore classified as being undetermined in nature."