MEMPHIS (UPI) — Seven children and four adults were killed early Monday morning in a South Memphis house fire, according to the Memphis Fire Department.
Firefighters, who arrived at the house at about 1:30 a.m., had extinguished the flames and carried the 11 victims out of the house within 15 minutes, according to NBC affiliate WMC. The four adults and three children were pronounced dead at the scene, the Memphis Fire Department said. The other children died at Le Bonoheur Children’s Hospital.
The home had bars on all of its windows.
“In my 27 years with the Memphis Fire Department, I have never seen this amount of victims on one incident,” MFD spokesman Lt. Wayne Cooke told WMC. “We sincerely pray for this family and for the loved ones of this family.”
Grief counselors will be provided for the personnel who handled the fire, Cooke said.
The Memphis Fire Association posted on its Facebook page: “Please think about this family and the firefighters and police officers who responded to the scene.”
Mary Whitmore, sister of one woman who died in the fire, cried as she stood on the sidewalk outside the house.
She told the Commercial Appeal her sister, Carol Collier, 56, called 911.
“She always tried to help everybody,” Whitmore said. “I can’t believe this.”
Another victim, Eloise Futrell, 61, was grandmother to all seven of the children who died.
“They are all gone,” her niece, Elisa Weathersby, told the Commercial Appeal. “Our hearts are ripped in two.”
The six-room, brick veneer house was built in 1972 and was worth $27,700, according to property records obtained by the newspaper.