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Grand Rapids man charged in fire that killed wife, 3 kids

succo via Pixabay | CC BY 2.0

A man was charged Thursday with involuntary manslaughter in a house fire that killed his wife and three children in western Michigan.

Robert Scales, 38, has said he was at work when the fire occurred in Grand Rapids in February.

Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker declined to discuss the case in detail but said there’s no evidence that the fire was intentionally set.

“We’re charging him with gross negligence,” Becker said.

Scales was being held at the county jail. It wasn’t immediately known if he has a lawyer who could comment on the charges.

The fire victims were Xavier Woldeab, 15, Elijah Scales, 10, Robert Scales Jr., 14, and Wanedia Scales, 35.

“I got here too late. There was nothing I could do at that point,” Robert Scales told WOOD-TV after the fire.

He described his wife as a “beautiful soul” and said the boys were “very happy young men.”

Wanedia Scales sought a personal protection order in 2019, claiming Robert Scales had threatened to kill her by burning down the home, court records show.