(CNN) -- A mobile home fire Wednesday night in the rural Arkansas town of Humphrey killed six people, including five children, authorities said.
According to Arkansas County Sheriff Allen Cheek, all of the children were 5 years old or younger. The sixth victim was an adult woman. The identities of the dead were not immediately available.
The fire started about 6 p.m. (7 p.m. EDT) in the community of about 800 located 40 miles southeast of Little Rock, Sgt. Ron Stayton of the Arkansas State Police said. According to him, the mobile home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.
"This is a tragedy," Stayton said. "Six lives were lost here. It's sad -- it's a sad day."
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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04-21-2005, 04:36 AM #1
Six die in Arkansas mobile home fire
04-21-2005, 02:44 PM #2
Certainly, our thoughts and prayers should not only go out to the families of those killed... but to our brothers who responded to this fire. I can't imagine that the firefighters in Humphrey have seen anything quite like this before.
FIVE BOYS AND MOTHER DIE IN HOUSE FIRE
(Link has pictures of the victims)
State police investigators spent much of this morning going through the electrical junction box of a Humphrey mobile home where a woman and five children died in a fire last night.
Five little boys from three different families died along with the mother of two of the youngsters when the home was destroyed by flames. The home was engulfed when firefighters arrived.
Investigators do not yet know how the blaze began or why no one escaped. The children ranged in age from eight months to four years.
As the investigators worked, John and Rachel Whiteside walked up to a police barrier to look at the trailer where their two sons died.
John Whiteside clutched a cigarette in one hand and a soda in the other, a police officer walked up and hugged him. Rachel Whiteside, a few steps back, screamed that her babies were gone.
Scattered in the yard were various toy trucks and the other trappings of boyhood. A number of books spilled out of the trailer during the fire, including one, "Brave Little Bunny" that had the edges of its pages charred.
The dead were identified as Amanda Clemons, 23, and her sons Dakota, 4, and Edison Ray, 3; Wesley Whiteside, 3, and his brother Stephen, 1; and Ayden Joe Richter, 8 months.
Officials had feared that other children might also have perished in the fire that began shortly after 6 p.m., but Sergeant Ron Stayton of the state police said two thorough searches of the debris turned up no more bodies.
04-21-2005, 02:47 PM #3
NEIGHBOR TELLS ABOUT FAILED RESCUE EFFORT
A man who lives near the Humphrey mobile home where a woman and five children died in a fire Wednesday night says he and another neighbor tried to rescue the woman and the children.
Roy Bronson says the pair tried to break down the front door of the home using a piece of lumber as battering ram. The door was bolted shut from the inside.
Bronson says they heard the woman and the children screaming for help and told them to get on the floor and try to crawl out. Bronson says the woman said the fire had overtaken her that she wouldn't be able to escape. He says he heard two explosions before attempting the rescue.
After the men repeatedly rammed the door, it came open. But the heavy smoke that flowed out prevented them from immediately rushing in. Fire crews arrived shortly after. The fire began around 6 p.m. Wednesday.
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