Arrest made in Grape Street fire that killed four siblings | Crime
Four children died in a house fire and now their mother is under arrest, accused of starting the fire.
The mother, 31-year-old Bobbi Kugler is charged with arson and four counts of manslaughter, one count for each of her children.
Rochester Fire Chief John Caufield wouldn’t say how the fire broke out on Grape Street on February 18. Only that Kugler started it. She’s in the Monroe County Jail.
She was arrested Friday morning in Poughkeepsie and brought to the jail around 1:30pm Friday afternoon. News10NBC’s cameras were there at that time and saw a woman being taken inside.
Kugler’s children, 14-year-old Gage Reavey, 13-year-old Gregory Kugler, 11-year-old Kandee Kugler and 6-year-old Kaiden Kugler were trapped inside the house when the fire broke out. Firefighters tried to get to them, but the fire was so dangerous they were ordered to retreat.
Also in the house that night, 25-year-old James Austin, 15-year-old Waltquaries Evans and 13-year-old Giovanni Delorm. They were able to escape the fire by jumping from a second-story window. Austin is a family friend and Evans and Delorm were sleeping over at the time of the fire.
Chief Caufield says the investigation was time consuming and included countless interviews. He says it was not an accident.
Investigators say the fire stated in a bedroom on the first floor near the front of the house around 1:00am on Saturday February 18. Police won’t say what Kugler did or used to start the fire. All we know right now is that she is charged with arson and manslaughter. Legal definition of manslaughter includes reckless behavior which leads to someone’s death.
The investigation took two months and we are told the arrest is the result of a slow and methodical process. The police department and fire department say they’ve left no stone unturned.
Rochester Police Deputy Chief Mike Wood said, “It's obviously not a happy day at all, the way I see it, it's a sad day. The fact that we are charging a woman with having a hand in the deaths of her four children, that's had a significant impact on her and her family, police, fire anyone that's been involved in the case, so it was a very tragedy situation.”
Kugler will be arraigned in City Court Saturday morning at 9:30am. Kugler and her 2-year-old child were rescued from the fire by firefighters. The 2-year-old and another child of Kugler’s who wasn’t living at Grape Street are staying with family.
Neighbors react to the arrest
(Click above to see Joangel Concepcion's report)
The Grape Street neighborhood is in shock over the news. Some of them refusing to talk about it because even months later, it’s still difficult from them to come to terms with what happened. Now that Bobbie Kugler is in police custody, a lot of them say it’s like reliving the nightmare.
Many people say they are in disbelief. Some say they are angry, but for one woman who knew Kugler personally. The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Jennifer Wenner, friend and neighbor, said, “No, I wasn’t surprised. I didn’t think she would do it, but when I was over thinking everything that was going on. I just thought it was her.”
The house was completed destroyed, but the house now looks like a completely different home. There were several men working on the exterior of the home Friday afternoon and neighbors say they’ve been working on the house for the past three weeks.
Click here to watch full news conference regarding the arrest of Bobbie Kugler.