Sharon Broadhead, whose three children and a friend died in a mobile home fire in Pahrump last week, was arrested Saturday on manslaughter and child abuse charges, the Nye County Sheriff's Office announced.
Broadhead, 29, was booked on $35,000 bail. She faces four counts of manslaughter and three counts of child abuse by neglect causing death, and is expected to make an initial court appearance Monday.
Scott Lewis, chief of the Pahrump Valley Fire-Rescue Service, said the investigation showed it was an "apparent accidental fire possibly ignited by a juvenile resident.'' He declined to say exactly where the fire started, but did say Broadhead was in the mobile home when it started.
Nye County Sheriff Tony DeMeo said Broadhead and her husband, Anthony, were called to a meeting at the sheriff's office at noon Saturday. She was arrested about 90 minutes later by Detective Joe Close and Mike Kolpak of the Nevada State Fire Marshall's office.
A sheriff's office news release did not address the cause of the fire, but indicated Broadhead was charged because "supervision and previous fire starting within the residence by the children occurred and preventive measures from the mother was not taken."
DeMeo said he doesn't anticipate any charges against Anthony Broadhead, who was estranged from his wife and living elsewhere.
Authorities said that several times the children heavily damaged the double-wide mobile home where they lived for just five months. Child Protective Services had contacted the family following an earlier fire, DeMeo said.
"The lack of supervision was not an isolated incident to the morning of the fire, but routine to the fact that 2 children destroyed an entire room with putting holes in the walls and starting fires on at least 2 occasions prior,'' the sheriff's office wrote. "This was admitted during interviews of a pillow being set on fire and another incident of a piece of paper inside the residence and the mother knowing about it.''
One of the children had previously been caught sneaking a lighter from Broadhead's purse, the release said.
The cause of the fire was not addressed in the news release, though police noted that Broadhead's lighter was not found in her purse after the fire.
Killed in the Wednesday morning fire were Broadhead's three children: Elliot Broadhead, 18 months, Zachary Broadhead, 4, and Brandon Michael Smith, 5. Firefighters pulled the three children out of the burning home, but they were pronounced dead a short time later at Desert View Regional Medical Center.
A family friend, Crystal Leann Smiley, 24, also died in the fast-moving fire. She was dialing 911 when she succumbed to the heavy, black smoke, authorities said.
Broadhead suffered smoke inhalation and cuts on her hands from broken window glass, Lewis said last week. A firefighter suffered burns on his neck, and two sheriff's deputies and a neighbor who tried to rescue the children were treated for smoke inhalation after the fire.
Anthony Broadhead could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Smiley's sister, Anna Huyck, declined comment. Earlier, she said her family was not in contact with Sharon Broadhead, and that a "sore point" remains "unclarified" involving her escape from the fire. She did not elaborate on the nature of the sore point.
Pahrump Valley Times Editor Matt Ward contributed to this report. Contact Assistant City Editor James G. Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0355.