A faulty woodstove flue was the suspected cause of a fire that killed a couple and two children and leveled a log cabin west of Cascade Reservoir, investigators said.
The victims of Friday's early morning blaze were identified as James Carter, 35, his wife, Vikki, and the couple's two 11-year-old sons from previous marriages, Kurt and Fritz.Cascade Rural Fire Chief Bob Brasley said the victims were all apparently from the Boise area.
"It was their father or father-in-law's cabin," Brasley said. A Valley County sheriff's dispatcher said the vacation cabin belonged to a Pete Carter.
Firefighters were called to the scene shortly after midnight when a passerby reported the fire. The cabin, about 11/2 miles south of West Mountain Lodge, was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
"There was a red ball in the sky," Brasley said. Firefighters and Valley County sheriff's deputies said they could see the cabin burning more than a mile away.
Thirteen firefighters from Cascade's Rural Fire Department and the Cascade City Fire Department battled the blaze.
"We had to go through some pretty big banks of snow," Brasley said. "Once we got in, we couldn't get out."
Firefighters had to plow a lane back to the main road in order to get more water, he said.
Neighbors informed firefighters that four people were in the burning house, but Brasley said the fire was so far along that nothing could be done.
Don Dillard, chief deputy state fire marshal, said firefighters had to fight the blaze in blowing wind and drifting snow. They had to make three trips into Cascade to get water because there were no fire hydrants near the cabin and the lake was frozen over, he said.
"It probably took us until 6 a.m. to make it cool enough for the coroner to go in," Brasley said. "Since 1972 I've never seen a fire this bad. We've had a few deaths but nothing like this. It's something you don't get used to."
Investigators said there were three working smoke alarms in the cabin.