'This is all I have left': Father and toddler survive fire that killed wife and 5 children
The horrific fire claimed the lives of six people, a mother and five of her children, leaving just two devastated family members behind who survived the blaze.
A fire at the Cosmo Extended Stay Motel in Berrion County in Michigan has caused the death of 26-year-old Kiarre Curtis and five of her children, ranging in ages from 10 to just 2 years old, reported WTOL.
Kiarre and her husband, Samuel Curtis, had been staying there with her children: 10-year-old Marquise Thompson, 7-year-old Gerome Randolph, 5-year-old Samuel Curtis, 4-year-old Savod Curtis, 2-year-old Avery Curtis, and their 1-year-old daughter.
Samuel and the 1-year-old are the only survivors in the family following the fire, with all five of the older children and their mother perishing in the inferno.
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
The fire in the motel broke out in the room below the Curtis family's, and is at this point presumed to have been an accident, with some evidence indicating that it was caused by an electrical appliance.
When firefighters arrived at the motel, the entire building was already engulfed in flames, and one end of the building had exploded.
At this point, no autopsies have been performed on the five victims of the fire. These are scheduled for Saturday, August 4. At this stage, it is believed their deaths were caused by smoke inhalation.
“I tried to get the baby from the man in case he fell down, but he wouldn’t give up the baby. He said, 'This is all I have left.'"— WSBT (@WSBT) July 29, 2018
That man and baby are surviving members of a family that lost 5 kids and a mom in a Berrien Co. fire. @DJManouWSBT reports: https://t.co/J6OSabJiFe
10-year-old Marquise had tried to get to the room door by himself, but was unable to reach it before he collapsed.
When Samuel emerged with the baby, neighbor Cassaundra Clements tried to take the little girl from him for fear he would collapse. But he clutched at his daughter, refusing to let her go.
“This is all I have left,” Clements said the distraught father kept saying.
“I can’t handle it. I don’t know what to do. My mind seems like it doesn’t want to respond. But they were my friends. I liked them. They were little, young children,” neighbor Robert Payne said.
Family friend Darcia Knutson added: “I’m just so sad for him right now. How do you lose your wife and kids?”
Six other people in the building at the time of the fire, including four emergency responders, were also rushed to hospital, but have since been released.
Survivors of the fire have been told they may collect whatever possessions have remained in the building.