A fire at a motel in Michigan killed a 26-year-old woman and her five children, officials said.
The children ranged in age from 2 to 10, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office told the South Bend Tribune.
The fire at Cosmo Extended Stay Motel started in the early hours of Saturday, with a dispatcher receiving a call about it at 1:45 a.m. Firefighters rushed over but the motel was already engulfed in flames and smoke.
Sarah Sanders, who lives at the motel, said she saw smoke in the hallway before a friend told her to get out of the building.
“By the time we get outside, the end of the building exploded,” she said. “The glass shattered out and there was big whoof of flame.”
Soon, firefighters had reached the family of six but it was too late.
“And then they started bringing out little kids out of the building, all lifeless,” she added. “Not even three feet from me.”
Scene of fire at Berrien County motel that killed 5 kids, 1 adult, all from same family. One resident: "The end of the building exploded. The glass shattered out and there was big whoof of flame." Full story here: https://t.co/Dafl591KHl pic.twitter.com/gHiOaz4F7i
— South Bend Tribune (@SBTribune) July 28, 2018
Here’s a look at where the fire started. pic.twitter.com/bQqV683IK6
— Abby Lutz (@abbyjlutz) July 28, 2018
The mother was identified as Kiera Samuel, reported WNDU; her children were Marquise Thomas, 10; Jerome Randolph, 7; Samuel Curtis, 5; Savat Curtis, 4; and Avery Curtis, 2.
Officials said that approximately 90 percent of the motel’s rooms sustained some kind of damage and that at the time of the fire, 27 were occupied.
Four guests were treated for smoke inhalation and four first responders received treatment. There were no other deaths.
Officials haven’t pinpointed the origin of the fire but Leroy Johnson, a resident at the motel, told WSBT that the fire may have started in his room.
“As I woke up my bed was on fire. I said ‘Oh my God.’ I got my sheets and wet them and I tried to throw them on the bed and as I throw it on the bed it didn’t work,” he said.
“So I asked the person above me for some salt. As I throw salt on there I hurry and jump out and once I jump out the whole room explode flew.”