An overnight fire kills two East Texas children, from two different families. Another girl, a sibling of one of those killed, was seriously injured. The fire happened in Edgewood, at a mobile home off Highway 19. Five fire departments responded.
Five-year-old Britney Hall and seven-year-old C.J. Duckworth were killed. Nine-year-old Maggie Duckworth was injured. She was air-lifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas with serious injuries. Four adults and another child escaped safely.
Family and neighbors tried desperately to save the children. "We got woke up by someone screaming and hollering. They was needing help," said Steven Sinclair.
It was shortly before one o'clock Friday morning when Sinclair ran out of his home, hearing screams for help. His son Wade heard a child inside the trailer screaming for help, "I heard one of them holler. The little boy hollered."
Four adults and an 18- month-old child made it out safely. But trapped inside a back bedroom were Britney, C.J. and Maggie. The fathers of the children, along with the Sinclairs and other neighbors, desperately tried multiple times to make their way inside the burning building.
"I went running to the front door trying to make it in. I got down on my hands and knees, tried crawling in," said Wade Sinclair. But, he says, the flames and the smoke were too much to handle.
"I couldn't make it no further than 10 feet inside." Wade's father, Steven also tried, but was unable to get inside. "It was so hot. It was awful. And the worst part was knowing those babies were in there and we couldn't get to 'em. It really did hurt."
While the men tried to punch and kick their way through the walls of the trailer, a window blew out. "Red and black is all you could see through that window. We was fixing to bust it out, and that's when it blew out. I'm guessing from heat. It just cracked and blew outward," said Wade Sinclair.
It was through that window that one of the children, Maggie, managed to get out with the help of her step-father. Sinclair says Maggie was in such bad shape, he knew then C.J. and Britney would not make it.
"It was hard," he said almost sobbing. "The only thing we could do was sit there and watch it 'til the fire truck got there," he says. By the time firefighters arrived, the home was engulfed leaving those who escaped, mourning those who did not.
At the request of the family, Maggie's condition is unavailable at this time. Also, no word on a cause of the fire.