The Arizona Republic

4 victims of trailer fire ID’D


APACHE JUNCTION — The four victims in Tuesday night’s fatal trailer fire in Apache Junction have been tentativel­y identified, fire officials said Friday.

Apache Fire officials believe Robert Shell Jr., 38; his son, Joseph Shell, 11; Robert’s stepbrothe­r, Ricky Etris, 32; and his daughter Angel Etris, 7, were in the house when it caught fire.

Etris and his daughter lived across the street from the fire with his stepfather, Robert Shell Sr., an expert in reloading ammunition for antique or obsolete firearms.

All victims died of asphyxiati­on, authoritie­s said. The children and Etris were found near the door while Shell was found near the room where the fire began, Public Informatio­n Officer Dave Montgomery said.

The trailer housed a Web-based business that sold specialty ammunition and antique guns, Montgomery said.

The fire originated in or near the room that stored powders used for reloading the ammunition. Fire officials do not believe the powders were the cause, Montgomery said.

Bystanders were hampered by rounds exploding in the house and were unable to save the victims, Montgomery said.

When firefighte­rs arrived on the scene at 9:33 p.m., the mobile home was engulfed in flames that were fanned by high winds.

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