Injured Soldier Talks About Fatal Fire - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Injured Soldier Talks About Fatal Fire

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.- A Fort Campbell soldier injured in a fatal fire said he did all he could to try to save his two stepchildren.

"Can you imagine anything worst? We lost our children, you know," said Spc. Wayne Smallwood, whose stepchildren died in a May fire on Army post. "It's pretty upsetting."

Two-year-old Rebekah Smallwood and 9-year-old Samuel Fagan died in the fire investigators have ruled was caused by arson.

"You always wonder if there was something more you could have done. And everything just happened so far that, you know, there was no way to react," Smallwood said Tuesday.

Fire ripped through his family's housing unit.

Smallwood, who served one tour of duty in Iraq, was scheduled to return later this year before he broke his leg. He said he hurt himself jumping from the building and could only, helplessly watch.

"When I tried to get the water, I jumped down and shattered my leg," Smallwood said. "I couldn't get back up to help, to help my wife."

Billi-Jo Smallwood was badly burned on her legs while trying to get to the roof with Samuel to escape the fire. She was treated at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The Smallwoods' infant daughter, Nevaeh escaped without injury. Smallwood said his wife managed to get the infant to the roof before she tried to move the older children to the roof.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal's office examined the scene, eliminating accidental and natural causes of the fire, according to a news release from Fort Campbell.

Investigators did not release details about the origin and cause of the fire and the status of the ongoing investigation.

Smallwood also would not comment on the arson speculation until the investigation is complete.

"I'm not saying someone intentionally started it because that would be trying to go into their investigation," he said. "I'm not at liberty to talk about that."

Investigators did not say whether or not there are suspects, but they said they continue to look into who would have been in the position to start a fatal arson in the middle of a very secure military base.

Investigators are requesting anyone with information about this arson to call Fort Campbell's 31st Military Police Detachment Criminal Investigation Command at 270-798-3000 or 270-798-9402; Military Police at 270-798-7111; or the ATF at 800- ATF-800-3855.

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