Samuel Curtis was able to escape the flames and smoke of a deadly motel fire with his infant girl. His wife and five oldest children were not so lucky.
This Michigan man lost his family as a massive fire swept through a motel where they had been staying. As Fox News reported, the mother and young children were caught up in a very fast-moving fire that swept across the entire motel in the early morning hours on Friday.
Killed in the fire were 26-year-old Kiarre Curtis and five of her children — 10-year-old Marquise Thompson, 7-year-old Gerome Randolph, 5-year-old Samuel Curtis, 4-year-old Savod Curtis, and 2-year-old Avery Curtis. The family had been staying at the motel outside the town of Benton Harbor, an establishment that local officials described as a place where people could get back on their feet and live for extended periods.
After the fire, Cassundra Clements said she saw Samuel Curtis clutching onto his 1-year-old and tried to help the man, afraid that he may fall in his weakened state.
“I tried to get the (surviving) baby from the man in case he fell down, but he wouldn’t give up the baby,” Clements said. “He said, ‘This is all I have left.'”
Others who stayed at the motel said the family was seen as quiet and kind, the children well-mannered and caring.
“They never talked back, perfect,” resident Dartagnan Taylor told the South Bend Tribune. “It breaks my heart that I ain’t going to see them no more, that’s a shame.”
Residents said the fire swept quickly across the 27-room motel, with explosions as the flames reached across all the rooms.
“By the time we get outside, the end of the building exploded,” said resident Sarah Sanders told the South Bend Tribune. “The glass shattered out and there was big whoof of flame.”
“And then they started bringing out little kids out of the building, all lifeless,” Sanders added as tears filled her eyes. “Not even three feet from me.”
Authorities said every room in the hotel suffered at least some kind of smoke or water damage. A local shelter was set up for the 20 people who were displaced after the fire, the South Bend Tribune reported.
A woman and 5 of her children were killed in a fire at a motel in Michigan. Her husband and 1-year-old daughter survived. https://t.co/Hq1TKVEDYj
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 28, 2018
Berrien County police chief deputy Robert Boyce said the scene was particularly difficult for the first responders, many of whom are fathers or mothers.
Authorities are investigating the motel fire that killed the mother and five of her children.