A house fire in Michigan left three toddlers dead after they were left alone despite relatives living nearby.
The dead children included three-year-old twins Tevin and Ty’nitha Williams and one-year-old Tyonna Henderson.
When firefighters and authorities arrived at the house, they said the fire had been burning for some time, though they didn’t receive the call until 2 p.m.
“There was nobody home at the time when we arrived here, and we don’t know whoever was watching the kids had left. The stairway was burned out, and the fire was pretty advanced,” Brian Uridge, Kalamazoo public safety assistant fire chief, said.
There was a fourth child at the house but she managed to escape the fire, according to residents.
They do not know how the fire was caused.
A few relatives of the kids worked and lived nearby, but no one was watching them at the time.
After an autopsy is performed, the exact cause of death will be determined, along with how long the children were left in the fire.
The children’s great-grandmother lives on the same street and immediately came to the scene when she received a call from another family member.
Jacqueline Fullerton said she was shocked by what she saw.
“My heart is ripped right now. It was just the flames all over, and people all around, and we didn’t know what was going on. I did have a chance to talk to the mom, she was talking to a detective and she said she heard the kids upstairs and she just heard them crying, but she couldn’t go get them,” Fullerton said.
The twins’ father showed up at the scene but did not understand why the children were left alone.
A large crowd gathered outside the apartment complex, and public safety officers had to break up a few fights.
“It’s a sad day when young children are lost in a tragedy such as this. Our hearts go out to these grieving families,” David Anderson, president of the foundation sponsoring the apartments, said.