Questions remain about fire that killed pregnant woman

Questions remain about fire that killed pregnant woman »Play Video
Christine Holthaus Soles is seen in a contributed photo.

BAKERSFIELD,  Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The last time Kyle Reese saw his sister, the 30-year-old mother of two small children appeared to be doing well.

"She looked good, she wasn't in bad condition or anything like that," Reese said. "I talked to her for a good 15 minutes, said 'Good-bye, I love you.'"

That would be the last time he would see his sister alive.

Christine Holthaus Soles, who was seven-months pregnant, died in an early morning fire over the weekend at 720 Eye St. She was sleeping at what the Bakersfield Fire Department described as a dwelling that had been illegally converted into living quarters.

The place was built as a smokehouse. Bakersfield Code Enforcement Officer David Paquette confirmed the dwelling did not have the proper permits to have it converted into living quarters.

"I doubt that was ever built with the intent of it being occupied for human residence as a single-family residence or anything of that nature," said Paquette.

Records from the Kern County Assessor's office lists the property owner as William Edmonds. He was unavailable for comment.

The fire department said the cause of the fire was accidental, due to an older wood stove. Some of the wood burning in the stove rolled out and ignited combustibles on the floor.

"She was right next to the fire, and where the fire had started to engulf her, so by the time she had woken up, she was pretty much done," said Reese.

The victim's family said Soles was supposed to be staying for two nights at the dwelling when tragedy struck. Her brother described his sister as being very much like her grandmother, who cared and gave anything and everything she had for her friends.

The funeral will be 1 p.m. Thursday at Valley Baptist Church on Fruitvale Avenue.