Hundreds Take Part in Thurston County Vigil for Family Killed in House Fire


A house fire near Capitol Forest that killed five members of the Cox family earlier this month spurred hundreds to attend a vigil at Tumwater High School Sunday evening.

One organizer said they had brought enough food for 1,000 people, and nearly that many attended, almost filling the upper portion of the high school stadium that overlooks Sid Otton field.

About 6:30 a.m. Jan. 21, firefighters were dispatched to Sherman Valley Ranch near Capitol Forest and found the home completely engulfed in flames.

Inside were Steven Cox, 36; Destiny Cox, 34; Kaleah Cox, 13; and two boys, Kaiden Cox, 11, and Jackson Moore, 10, according to the Coroner's Office.

The Thurston County Coroner said Monday that all died of "inhalation of combustible materials, and thermal injuries."

The couple's eldest child, 14, was not at home at the time of the fire. Another girl, a friend who had been staying with the family, escaped the fire.

Investigators continue to look into the cause of the fire, but have ruled out arson, The Olympian reported.

Dawn Baich, Destiny's mother, told The Olympian that she was amazed at Sunday's turnout.

"It's wonderful to see all the support and how many lives that they have touched. It's just overwhelmingly amazing."

Asked how she was doing, Baich said she was in "survival mode."

"It's not real yet," said Baich, who lives in Florida, but is from Tumwater.

Baich did not address the crowd. In fact, no family members did. Instead, vigil emcee Jared Burbidge read statements from a series of people close to the family, including a brother-in-law and an uncle.

Hayley Bogart read a statement for the Cox family.

"With all of your support we will be able to get through this horrific event," said Bogart on behalf of the family. "This has affected our entire community, and if there's anything we can learn from this, it's love one another and hug and kiss our babies. We are all in this world together so let's help one another, love one another and give a helping hand."

Perhaps the most moving moment of the vigil came from Chelsea Hornback, the mother of the girl who escaped the deadly fire. Hornback read a statement that her daughter wanted to share.

Hornback said that her daughter, Kinsley, was in attendance, which generated a round of applause.

"It's not been easy on me or the family," Kinsley's mother read from her daughter's statement. "That morning may forever haunt me, but I want you to know it won't ruin my wonderful memories."

Part of Kinsley's message was directed at her best friend, Kaleah, who died in the fire.

"I see her in my dreams at night and I hear her words say that everything is going to be OK," said Kinsley in her message. "I miss her so much that my heart physically hurts, and I love her more than life and beyond."

After the statements were read, the crowd filed out of the stadium to hold battery-powered candles and other illuminated objects behind the stadium.

One of the last to exit was Jeff Leitch of Tumwater, who works for Steven Cox's uncle, Don.

"It was amazing, incredible," he said about the gathering. "I wasn't expecting it to be that big, that large. It was awesome, it was beautiful."