Two children are dead and their father is in custody after an allegedly suspicious house fire that occurred in Needles last week.

Needles firefighters were called to the location at about 10 p.m. Thursday, where they found the residence engulfed in flames. Firefighters extinguished the blaze and entered the structure, where the two children, ages 1 and 3, were found deceased inside.

According to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies, the fire appeared to be suspicious in nature. Further investigation allegedly showed that the children were left in the care of their father, 35-year-old Needles resident Christifer Williamson, while the children’s mother was away from town. Williamson was not at the scene when deputies or firefighters arrived.

Williamson was allegedly detained for questioning during a Jan. 8 traffic stop, and taken into custody on charges of child endangerment.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation as of Monday afternoon. Any readers with information in the case are asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office at 909-387-3589. Callers can submit tips anonymously at 1-800-782-7463.

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