At least two children died after a fire broke out at a Gary, Indiana, apartment building over the weekend.
Kailani Gober, 2, and her brother, Khristopher Gober, 4, were trapped in a fourth-floor apartment, reported ABC7 in Chicago. They both died.
“It is always difficult because most of the guys and women on our department are parents, grandparents so loss of a life is never a good thing, especially when you are trying all you can to save a life,” Gary Fire Department Chief Mike Jones told the ABC affiliate.
Two children were killed yesterday, when their apartment in Gary, Indiana, went up in flames. A third child survived by jumping from the fourth floor as neighbors held out a blanket to catch him. https://t.co/nPuxMLlixB
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) March 26, 2018
Witnesses said that an 8-year-old boy was screaming for his life when crews arrived on the scene.
“He’s yelling help me, help me, help me,” said the boy’s aunt, Nicola Simmons. “And as he’s yelling help me some lady came out with a blanket and said ‘just tell him to jump, just tell him to jump.”
CBS Chicago identified the boy as Monty Spencer, who was watching TV when the fire broke out. “I was laying on the bed. When I came out my momma’s room, it was a lot of black smoke,” he said.
Then he reacted to the smoke. “That’s when I tried to go out the door, and it was super black. I couldn’t see nothing. That’s when I put my head out the window, and I called for help,” he said.
Neighbors below held a blanket to catch him.
“We grabbed this cover, and we told him to just jump, and they told him 1, 2, 3, 4, and he jumped,” neighbor Earl Stiff told CBS Chicago. “It was like 20 people holding the blanket.”
“It was hard, because we don’t have credentials for this, but we had to do what we had to do,” neighbor Tevin Thompson added.
Monty’s uncle, Paul Reedus Sr., said that he never could have made the jump. “I think he’s a hero,” Reedus said. “I looked way up there. I said, ‘He jumped from up there?’ I said, ‘Oh my God, what a brave little boy.’”
His mother, Judy Spencer, said the child is fine.
“I sure do appreciate everybody who helped my son, I thank y’all a lot,” Spencer said.
It took firefighters around four hours to contain the blaze.
At least 100 residents were displaced due to the fire, and they’re now getting assistance from the Red Cross, NBC Chicago reported.
The cause of the fire was not been revealed. Investigators told ABC7 that there were working smoke detectors in the building.