FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Four children were killed in a mobile home fire in Fort Wayne Thursday morning.
Firefighters were called to Dupont Estates around 8:30 a.m., according to Fort Wayne's NBC. Firefighters said the mobile home was engulfed in flames when they arrived.
Four adults were able to get out of the home, but four young children were found dead.
“I’ve been crying all day,” said Shelby Wright, who lives in the neighborhood. “I heard the dog. I heard the kids screaming and then after a second, I couldn’t see nothing else. The flames got bigger.”
Wright said she used a broom handle to break a back window, trying to get inside, but there was just too much smoke.
“All I heard was, ‘Help, mom!’ and just the babies crying, and the dog was crying. That’s all I heard,” Wright said.
“I tried to bust through the front door,” said next door neighbor Hunter Desjardin of the efforts he made to save the kids. "I pulled the air conditioning unit out. The flames were just so engulfed that it was ... you ain't getting in."
Fire crews got on scene within five minutes of the first 911 call, but said it took 20 minutes to get the fire under control so they could get inside. When they did, they found the four children, reportedly all under 10 years of age.
Witnesses said the mother of the children and three other adults managed to escape and were taken to area hospitals.
“I ran through the house screaming, 'Fire!'” said Travis Garrison, one of the adults who managed to get out.
Garrison said he lived in the home with his sister and her boyfriend, plus the mother of the children.
“She ran over to me and asked if her kids were OK and I told her that they were still in there and I was running to the front door to try and break it open and it wouldn’t open. I kept hearing the kids screaming and screaming and we couldn’t do anything about it,” Garrison said.
“She was just distraught, laying on the ground,” Wright said.
The state fire marshal spent the day investigating the cause of the fire, but hasn’t said whether the fire looks suspicious.
Wright said it’s the second fire at Dupont Estates in less than a week. She said this one will stay with her for the long haul. A mother herself, Wright said she can’t stop thinking about her neighbor and her four children, who Wright likely heard in their last moments.
“I don’t know if they could even see me, if they could hear me over the flames. I don’t know what was going on there. I know they were terrified,” said Wright.
We may learn the names of the victims after their autopsies, which have been scheduled for the coming days.