A 29-year-old woman accused of causing a Lake Elsinore house fire that killed her two young children and grandmother, and also injured her mother and another child, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter and other charges.
Devinn Elysse Fisher of Lake Elsinore was arrested Thursday following a joint Riverside County sheriff’s and fire department investigation that began immediately after the deadly blaze two months ago.
Along with three counts of involuntary manslaughter, Fisher is charged with three counts of child cruelty, as well as four counts of causing a fire that resulted in great bodily injury or death, and one count each of burning an inhabited structure and elder abuse.
The defendant was arraigned before Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 26 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta and kept Fisher’s bail at $2 million.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Reese, Fisher had been under investigation since the Jan. 25 blaze engulfed the house at 32956 Blackwell Blvd., near Grand Avenue, where she lived with her mother, 51-year-old Julia Fisher, grandmother, 85-year-old Phyllis Fisher, and four children.
The two youngsters who perished in the flames were 2-year-old Julian Alcaraz-Fisher and his sister, 1-year-old Arya Alcaraz.
Reese did not disclose what led detectives to determine the defendant was allegedly responsible for the fire. The 12-count criminal complaint also didn’t point to specific findings.
Flames erupted inside the garage of the single-story residence shortly before 3 p.m. According to witnesses, the blaze spread rapidly, consuming the garage and extending into the rest of the residence as neighbors rushed to help, trying in vain to reach the victims.
Multiple county fire crews converged on the property within 10 minutes and were immediately alerted to occupants trapped. It took about 45 minutes to get the blaze under control, but it was too late for Arya and Julian, who died at the scene.
Phyllis Fisher was severely burned, along with her daughter, whose two dogs died in the fire. The defendant was also burned, as was one of her other children.
Her grandmother, who suffered burns over 80% of her body, died two days later at Arrowhead Regional Burn Center, where her daughter was also admitted.
Devinn Fisher was released from the hospital within a week. Her mother and the other victim are still undergoing treatment but recovering, according to family friend Stephanie Heer, who organized a GoFundMe campaign which has raised about $46,000. The page is updated regularly at www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-julia- fisher-family?qid=13345167d1c79116723295888612f2c1.
Funeral services for Phyllis Fisher are expected in the first week of April, and arrangements are still being made for the children, Heer said.
The defendant is being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.