By Kirsten Crow & Chelsea Quackenbush
Tribune-Herald staff writers
Thursday June 23, 2011
A grand jury declined to issue indictments in a case involving the deaths of twin 2-year-old boys who were killed in a Thanksgiving night fire, Coryell County officials said Wednesday.
The deaths of Trevor Ray Coleman and Leland Nolan Coleman, caused by thermal burns and smoke inhalation, were ruled as accidental by a medical examiner. Officials think the fire may have been sparked by a butane heater.
“I’m glad that it’s over with and my kids can rest in peace now,” Crystal Lee Coleman, the mother of the twin boys, said Wednesday. “I’m glad that people can now see the true me. People that know me and love me, and people who don’t love me, know I was a good parent.”
There was no indication of foul play in the deaths, but Coryell County Sheriff Johnny Burks said at the time of the fire that the case likely would be presented to the grand jury to make a decision about whether it was appropriate to file charges.
At the time of the blaze, Coleman, her boyfriend and her sons were staying in a storage shed that was converted to an apartment. It was a temporary arrangement while the family waited for a house they rented to become available, according to authorities.
The structure was on property owned by the parents of Coleman’s boyfriend, located in the 400 block of Star Lane, near the Slater community in Coryell County.
Officials said the fire broke out about 10 p.m. Nov. 25, 2010, shortly after Coleman put the children to bed.
According to a report by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Coleman was in the nearby mobile home owned by her boyfriend’s parents when she “heard a noise that drew her attention to the involved structure. She indicated that when she looked outside, it was burning intensely.”
Gatesville volunteer firefighters, based 16 miles away, responded to the scene, but the building was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.
The bodies of the children later were discovered in the rubble.
Coleman was treated for injuries, authorities said, after she tried to pull off the metal siding of the structure in an attempt to save her children.
The fire marshal’s report indicated the heater may have been too large for the “small space within the building and the amount of personal effects.”
He also said the building lacked smoke detectors, and that the children were too young “to be able to respond adequately to exit the structure.”