A Georgia man whose wife and two daughters were killed in a house fire on Feb. 9 said he tried his best to save them.
Brent Patterson and his wife, Kathy, were putting their daughters, ages 9 and 11, to bed when he heard a popping sound, WSBTV reports.
“I came downstairs, I opened the front door, and it's like the place exploded,” Brent told the station. “I tried to get back in; it was too hot. I couldn’t get back in because the fire came around and it came up the stairway. I did everything I could.”
Neighbors tried to help Brent rescue his family.
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“We got a shovel and we went and broke the back glass on the back door, and the heat was just so much, there was no way we could back in,” Brent said.
No one in his family made it out.
“They're dead,” Brent said. “I couldn't save them. I tried. I tried to save them. I tried.
“They were the best family anyone could ever have.”
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The family was well-known in the neighborhood and actively involved in church.
“[They were] just full of life, and the girls were so precious and gave hugs to people who came into the sanctuary,” friend Laurie Golding said.
Emergency crews found the family dog deceased in the home on Feb. 10.
“Firefighters buried the dog in the backyard as a show of respect due to the overwhelming loss sustained by the family,” the department said in a statement.
No foul play is suspected, according to investigators. The blaze appeared to have started in the living room, where an electric-powered couch was located near the fireplace.
Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe page on Feb. 10 to raise money for Brent. After only one day, nearly half of the $20,000 goal had been reached.