4 Die In Mobile Home; 2 Arrested: What Happened?

By iScienceTimes Staff on April 19, 2013 5:07 PM EDT

4 Die In Mobile Home
Robert Bottenhagen, arrested in alleged connection with the fire that killed four. (Photo: Yellowstone County Sheriff)
4 Die In Mobile Home
Zaccary John Kern, arrested in alleged connection with the fire that killed four. (Photo: Yellowstone County Sheriff)

Four die in a mobile home fire in Billings, Mont., prompting authorities to arrest two men who are now under investigation. AP reports that the four who died in the mobile home were killed after a fire was ignited in the residency.

It is still unclear how or why the fire was started, but authorities have in custody two men who are believed to be associated with the fire. Zaccary John Kern and Robert Eric Bottenhagen were arrested Thursday night, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder told AP. The men are being charged with four counts each of negligent homicide and one felony arson charge, although these are subject to change as more information is obtained.

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Firefighters were called to the home early Thursday morning and were able to get the fire under control within a few minutes. Four bodies were then removed from the home. Troy Donges, a neighbor of the people who died in the mobile home fire, told the Billings Gazette that he was woken up by the fire and ran over to the trailer to alert those inside.

"I was hitting the trailer as hard as I could with my hand," Donges told the paper. "There was so much smoke in there, I don't know how anybody could've survived.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, smoke inhalation, not burns, is the number one cause of death related to fires. EMedicineHealth says it accounts for 50 to 80 percent of fire deaths.

Death from smoke inhalation during a fire usually involves the victim becoming incapacitated from taking in too much smoke and not being able to make it to an exit. Also, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur as materials burn and release the toxin into the air. If the air is hot enough during a fire, even one breath of it is enough to kill.

NFPA reports that normal outside air is 21 percent oxygen. When levels of oxygen reach 17 percent, a person can experience impaired judgment and coordination. At 12 percent, headache, dizziness, nausea and fatigue set in. At six percent, respiratory and cardiac arrest take effect.

Read more:

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