Family dead in Happy Valley fire

Shooter, cause of blaze unconfirmed

SIFTING ASHES - Members of the Shasta County Search and Rescue team look for clues which may be buried in the ashes of the Wilcox home in Happy Valley.

Photo by Paul Robeson, Reporter

SIFTING ASHES - Members of the Shasta County Search and Rescue team look for clues which may be buried in the ashes of the Wilcox home in Happy Valley.

EXAMINING THE HOUSE - A member of the Search and Rescue team was in the house last Wednesday along with forensic specialists in search for clues which survived the fire in which six people died.

Photo by Paul Robeson, Reporter

EXAMINING THE HOUSE - A member of the Search and Rescue team was in the house last Wednesday along with forensic specialists in search for clues which survived the fire in which six people died.

BURNED OUT HOUSE AND CAR - The shell of an automobile and the house in Happy Valley stand as a grim reminder what fire can do in a matter of minutes.

Photo by Paul Robeson, Reporter

BURNED OUT HOUSE AND CAR - The shell of an automobile and the house in Happy Valley stand as a grim reminder what fire can do in a matter of minutes.

IN MEMORY - Happy Valley Elementary School students gathered outside the school tying purple and lavender ribbons on the fence in memory of Lisa Wilcox, the eighth grader who died with other family members in a house fire last week.

Virginia Reeter

IN MEMORY - Happy Valley Elementary School students gathered outside the school tying purple and lavender ribbons on the fence in memory of Lisa Wilcox, the eighth grader who died with other family members in a house fire last week.

MISSING HER - This ribbon reads “Heaven needed an angel.”

Virginia Reeter

MISSING HER - This ribbon reads “Heaven needed an angel.”

Five people were found shot to death in the remains of a house fire on April 10 at 5120 Le Conge Dr. in Happy Valley. A sixth person died of the effects of fire.

“Neighbors heard what they believed to be gunshots,” said Captain Dave Compomizzo.

Compomizzo said that witness statements alleged there was possibly a flammable liquid inside the house, but he would not say what the flammable liquid was.

As of the afternoon of April 16, Compomizzo said that various law enforcement agencies are involved in cataloging information. He said he expected information soon from forensics and was waiting to hear the identification of the sixth person.

According to Compomizzo, those identified as having died of gunshot wounds include Richard Wilcox, 66, his granddaughter Lisa Wilcox, 13, and three of his children Brett Wilcox, 38, Susan Wilcox, 31, and Cindy Wilcox, 35. A sixth person, a male found dead of the effects of fire, has yet to be identified. Compomizzo said that it’s the highest probability that Russell Wilcox, 34, another of Richard Wilcox’s sons, may be that person.

Fire Chief of the Happy Valley Fire District Joe Vasquez, said that 17 firemen were there at the fire on April 10. On April 16, the firemen had a critical stress debriefing.

“Guys could talk about things that we’ve seen,” Vasquez said. “Get it off our minds. We’ve had a lot of support from people, thanking us for doing our job.”

At Happy Valley Elementary, where Lisa Wilcox attended school, school district psychologist Gwen Terry coordinated counselors and provided teachers with materials and information to help students in the classroom.

“We were prepared for whatever level of anxiety the kids may have. Some kids needed time out of class to cry and remember her,” said Principal Steve Westaby.

Students hung posters in memory of Lisa and put up purple ribbons all over school. Purple was Lisa’s favorite color. Since she also had a great affection for cats, students will be holding a fundraiser in Lisa’s name to benefit the felines of Haven Humane Society. For information about the fundraiser, call 241-1653.

Agencies involved with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office investigation are Dept. of Justice Bureau of Forensics; Dept. of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF); Cal-Fire; Happy Valley Fire District and City of Redding Fire.

© 2007 Anderson Valley Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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