Fox17 West has reported that six people from the same family have died in a massive motel fire in southwestern Michigan early Saturday morning. The deaths have been confirmed by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, as reported by ABC 57.
Authorities have said that the Cosmo Extended Living Motel in Sodus Township, Michigan, located near Benton Harbor, was “fully engulfed in flames” when responders arrived just before 2 a.m. The 911 call was made at 1:45 a.m. reporting the fire. Officials have said that all of the victims who died were from one family, including mother Kiarre Curtis and five of her six children, who were ages two through 10 when they died.
The Detroit News reported that Curtis and the five children likely succumbed to smoke inhalation, according to Chief Deputy Robert Boyce. Curtis’ 36-year-old husband, Samuel Curtis, and the couple’s one-year-old child managed to escape and were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, along with two other residents and four first responders.
According to local police, the two-story motel suffered extensive damage and is believed to the a total loss with 90 percent of the building was destroyed by smoke, water, or fire. Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the blaze and are investigating.
Reports indicate that 27 of the motel’s rooms were occupied, but authorities do not know the exact number of motel residents who were inside their rooms at the time of the fire.
Curtis, her husband, and the six children all had been staying in the same room at The Cosmo Extended Living Motel. Samuel Curtis was the father of some of the children who died.
The motel, described as a place for people to “get back on their feet,” is located just off of Interstate 94 in the southwestern corner of Michigan. Forty displaced residents are now residing at a local school where a shelter has been set up by the American Red Cross.
Motel resident Robert Payne told media outlets that the fire started just a few doors away from his room. Payne is quoted by The Detroit News as saying that he liked the children, sometimes giving them money for candy.
“They never talked back; perfect. It breaks my heart that I ain’t going to see them no more. That’s a shame.”
Conflicting reports have identified the mother as “Kierre Curtis.” The same reports also identified the motel as “Cosmo Extended Stay Motel.”