A distraught father described to KCTV5 Tuesday night his futile efforts to pull his two young sons from their burning bedroom.
Officials are incredibly tight-lipped about a fire that claimed the lives of two children in Ray County.
Ray County Sheriff Gary Bush said both parents are extremely distraught, and the children's mother was taken in for a mental evaluation after the fire occurred.
Randy Garrison said his 3-year-old son, Roger, and his 1-year-old son, Ashton, died in the fire. Garrison suffered burns to his hands and the back of his neck. KCTV5's Betsy Webster saw blisters on his hands and his hair was singed.
He described them as his rock, who were the reason he got up every day.
"Don't look at me like I'm a bad father. I'm not a bad father. My kids were everything to me," he said. "Imagine being a parent and waking up hearing your kids screaming and their whole bedroom is on fire and you can't do anything ... I tried everything I could to rescue everything I had in life, my two babies."
Note the embedded words, "I'm a bad father" which then we find, "bad father" is repeated, in the negative.
Was he accused of being a bad father? In this situation, it is doubtful that a journalist would say such a thing.
This then, in its offering, is very significant and likely is why officials are very quiet.
Note the 2nd person language: not at all expected. This is something up close and personal.
The fire was reported about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at the home in the 9600 block of Shach Creek Road, which is just west of Route O near Orrick.
As of Tuesday evening, police, sheriff and fire officials refused comment. Ray County Coroner Toby Polley wasn't at his funeral home Tuesday evening and the woman who answered the phone said he was unavailable for comment.
KMZU spoke with Ray County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Brian Bush, who offered limited details.
"There was a male subject that came out of the house. He advised that there could be two more subjects inside the residence. And since then two juveniles have been located in [there] at this time. We are waiting to notify the family before we release any names," he said.
Note that he quotes the male subject as only saying that there "could" be two more subjects inside the residence; reducing certainty. This is a very strange statement.
Garrison said he lived at the home with his children and their mother. He said they still lived together for the sake of the children even though their romantic relationship had ended.
Garrison told KCTV5 that he had come home from an overnight job about 6 a.m. He said his two children and their mother were in the living room when he went to sleep.
He said he is a sound sleeper. He said his boys' screams woke him up. He said there were flames and smoke throughout the house.
"It was the worst thing you can ever hear in your life to hear your kids screaming like that," he said.
Note the distancing language...very unusual for something so personal to have happened just a short time before this statement.
He said he tripped over something while racing to his boys' bedroom. He said he tried to open the door but found it tied shut with something that he said looked like a bungee cord.
take note, in spite of this not being a quote.
He said he escaped the house and ran outside. He said he tried to punch holes in the walls to get to his boys but couldn't.
He said the boys' mother wasn't in the home when he was trying to rescue the boys, and he doesn't know where she was. He said he has refused to speak to her since the fire. Authorities have not provided any additional information.
Garrison said he named his oldest son after his younger brother, Roger, who died in a trailer fire in 1989 at age 5.
Additional fire departments assisted at the scene. The Missouri Highway Patrol also assisted.