Nine people died in a Monday-morning house fire that fire officials are calling Memphis, Tenn.'s deadliest fire in almost a century, the (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reports.
According to the report, Memphis Fire Director Gina Sweat said that one child pulled from the home is still struggling to survive.
Fire officials said that 10 people were in the home when crews responded around 1:22 a.m. It is not immediately clear what the case of the deadly blaze was, but Sweat said that it appeared to have started in the living room.
The Commercial Appeal reports that family members said that three of the deceased adults were identified as 56-year-old Carol Collier, 27-year-old LaKisha Ward and 61-year-old Eloise Futrell. The children, they said, ranged in age from 3 to 16.
“According to our records, this is the most tragic loss of life in a single fire incident since the 1920s,” Sweat said. “The hearts of the men and women of the department are heavy and deeply touched, from the dispatchers who took the call to the first responders who were on the scene.”
The report notes that by the time firefighters arrived at the scene, 10 people were trapped. The fire crew entered the building, removing the victims, but four adults and three of the children were pronounced dead at the scene. Two of the other children died after being taken to the hospital in extremely critical condition.
“I’ve never seen firemen cry, but they were bawling like babies when they brought the children out,” neighbor Shoundra Hampton said. “We’ve all lived over there for 40 years and we are just devastated.”
Read more at the Memphis Commercial Appeal.