Redmond firefighters and investigators insepct the scene of an apartment fire that claimed the lives of five people.
EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. --
Fire raced through a suburban Seattle apartment building early New Year's Day, claiming the life of a 32-year old man and his four young sons.
Family members told 7NEWS that David Thompson, his son Tristan, 12, David, 6, Leviticus, 4 and Wyatt, 2, perished in the blaze.
His wife, Lilly, was able to escape the inferno and survived.
7NEWS has learned that the family used to live in Colorado Springs.
According to his ex-wife, Chandra, the Thompsons moved to Redmond nearly two years ago.
"He was in the moving business," Chandra said. "He operated Moose's Moving. When he made a trip to Washington he decided he had to live there."
Chandra is the mother of the oldest boy killed in the blaze. She still lives in El Paso County with her and David's daughter, Judseah, and their other son, Brendan.
"It doesn't seem real," a distraught Chandra said. "My (former) father in-law came over and said, ‘Sit down. There was a horrible fire. David and all the babies are dead.' I didn't believe him at first." The woman did not want her last name used.
The El Paso County mother told 7NEWS that Judseah spoke with her father on the phone a few hours before the blaze broke out.
"He told me he was going to buy me some games, so that when I got back up there I could play them," Judseah said.
Chandra told 7NEWS that Thompson also mentioned to his daughter that he smelled natural gas in the apartment.
"He said, ‘I'd better go check that out,' but I don't know if he had a chance to investigate it," Chandra said.
Chandra said both Judseah and Brendan went to Washington last summer to spend some time with their dad, brother and the rest of the family.
"My husband and I went up at the end of the summer to pick them up, and Judseah asked if she could stay," the mother said.
"I had to make the tough decision to say, ‘No,'" she said. "And now I'm very thankful that I did. She could have just as easily been in that apartment when it burned."
Chandra described her son, Tristan, as a bright boy.
"He was so smart, so intelligent," she said. "He struggled when they first moved, but he was getting his grades back up."
She said the younger boys all looked up to their big brother.
"It's so sad to think they died that way," she said. "It's especially sad when you think of that two-year-old baby."
"I lost a son," Chandra said, "but my heart aches for Lilly. She lost all her children and her husband. I hope and pray that's she's all right."
Chandra said she was just getting over the death of another son 15 years ago when she received word of the Redmond tragedy.
"I was telling my family and friends that it was finally starting to not hurt so much and then this happens."
When asked if Thompson may have tried to save the kids, Chandra said, "Yes."
"He was a good father," she said. "He really was. He loved those kids so much."
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
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