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Investigators unable to determine cause of Lake Ozark fire

Investigators say an April fire that killed four brothers was caused by either a cigarette or an errant spark, but they can't determine which. (File)

Documents obtained Tuesday by KRCG 13 show fire investigators think a cigarette or an errant spark might have caused an April fire that killed four brothers.

Tyler, Cason, Max and Levi Otto died on April 19 when their mother's Lake Ozark home caught fire. Investigators determined all four children died from smoke inhalation.

The report from the state fire marshal's office shows their mother and her boyfriend invited several friends over for a cookout on the evening of April 18. The adults cooked using a barbecue grill and later lit a fire pit to keep warm. They left the home around 8:30 that evening to go to a bar, leaving Tyler to watch his brothers. The mother's boyfriend told investigators he threw a pitcher of water over two still-burning logs before they left.

Investigators said they narrowed the cause down to a discarded cigarette or sparks from either the fire pit or barbecue grill. None of those causes could be eliminated, so investigators listed the cause as undetermined.

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