12-year-old in custody following Granite Shoals house fire that kills 8-year-old

JARED FIELDS • PICAYUNE STAFF

GRANITE SHOALS — An 8-year-old boy is dead and a woman is in a San Antonio hospital after a house fire July 10 in the 1300 block of Kings Valley Drive.

A 12-year-old boy, believed to be a family member of the deceased boy, was brought to the scene in handcuffs by a Llano County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Granite Shoals Police Captain Gary Boshears said in a news release the boy is in custody and charged with arson causing bodily injury/death.

Granite Shoals Fire Department Chief Austin Stanphill said officials were working to determine the cause of the fire that started about 10 a.m.

“There were some reports of some explosions inside (the home),” he said. “I believe there was oxygen in the house, medical oxygen, that may have been what exploded. It could have been tires, we just don’t know at this time.”

A family member of those involved in the fire said the boy who died in the blaze was his brother’s grandson.

“He was a very sweet kid, the love of my brother’s life,” said Elmus Alexander about the child. “He meant everything to (my brother).”

Alexander said the boy’s grandmother, his sister-in-law, tried to put out a small fire started by an older youth.

Many neighbors reported hearing an explosion. According to Alexander, the small fire ignited the woman’s medical oxygen.

Alexander said the older boy escaped the fire and drove away in a family vehicle. Alexander said authorities found the boy in Kingsland after he wrecked the vehicle.

Boshears said in the release that a neighbor pulled the woman out of the home.

“Granite Shoals Police Chief J.P. Wilson wished to extend the department’s deepest thanks to Robert Lemaster … who entered the burning building to pull the elderly woman to safety,” Boshears said.

Stanphill said the State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire and working with the Granite Shoals Police Department to conduct interviews and determine how the blaze started.

The fire destroyed the house but did not damage other nearby properties. Stanphill said the house was completely engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

“We got reports that somebody was trapped. We did try to go in, but it was too hot,” he said. “We immediately turned our attention to protecting and making sure it didn’t spread or get any larger.”

According to Stanphill, one firefighter suffered a minor injury and up to five dogs were killed in the fire.

jared@thepicayune.com

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Fatal fireLaw enforcement and fire officials investigate a fire in the 1300 block of Kings Valley Drive in Granite Shoals that claimed the life of a child and sent a woman to a San Antonio hospital. Staff photo by Jared Fields

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Fatal fireGranite Shoals and area firefighters contain a blaze that killed a child July 10. The fire started about 10 a.m. Neighbors reported hearing an explosion, and fire officials confirmed medical oxygen was in the home. Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire. Staff photo by Jared Fields

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