A fire early Saturday morning killed five children and two adults, but three youths were able to escape and were being treated for burns.
Neighbor Lamar Boyce said he was awakened about 5:30 a.m. by the victims' cries for help and saw two of the survivors jump from a second-story window.
The two teenagers and an 11-year-old boy who escaped were hospitalized with second-degree burns on their faces and hands, fire Department spokesman Lt. Keith Staples said.
Boyce said the two-story brick and wood-frame house was engulfed in flames and windows were popping out from the heat when he and his girlfriend, Nikko Moore, rushed to try helping the victims.
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“She tried to put the water hose on it to do what we could do, but by that time it was too late,” Boyce said. “It was too much fire. The water hose wouldn't do nothing.”
Relatives, including the twin sister of the woman who died, hugged and sobbed on a sidewalk near the charred remains of the house. They identified the mother as Melissa Poole, 38, and said four of her children died with her. A niece and nephew who were visiting when the fire broke out also died, family members said.
Alicia Bradley, 31, who said she was Poole's cousin and was speaking on behalf of the family, gave the ages of those killed: three girls, ages 7, 4 and 9; two boys, ages 1 and 5; and an 18-year-old man.