Florida Toddler Killed in Fire

The boy's twin brother was airlifted to a hospital.


EUSTIS, Fla. --

After failed frantic rescue attempts, an 18-month-old boy died Wednesday when a Lake County mobile home caught fire, authorities said.

Lake County Assistant Fire Chief Jack Fillman said the boy's twin brother was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital. He said the children's mother, 24-year-old Brandi Kerr, and a neighbor -- 57-year-old Sandra Goad -- were injured in the fire and airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, and that a second neighbor -- 32-year-old Lolletta Pierce -- was also hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.

The boy who died was Jonathan Kerr. His twin, Austin, and his mother were in critical condition. Goad was listed in serious condition.

Neighbors said Goad smokes and uses and oxygen tank. They said they think that's what may have started the first. Investigators said they still can't say for sure.

Brandi Kerr has two other children who were in day care at the time of the fire. A family friend said the twins' father was at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital Wednesday night. The friend also said the children's mother is on life support at ORMC.

The fire was reported at 40732 Pine Tree Lane in the Pine Lakes area of northeastern Lake County at about 3:20 p.m. By the time crews arrived, the home was completely engulfed in flames, they said.

"I dropped to my knees," said neighbor Lisa Malloy. "I lost it for awhile. I'm trying to hold myself together right now."

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Fillman said the fire had consumed 75 percent of the home by the time crews arrived within five minutes of the initial call. Fillman said they cut a hole in the mobile home in order to pull out the children and their mother.

"We just watched it melt basically all the way down to the ground, and we had no idea until someone started screaming that there were people still in the house," Malloy said.

-81.42467428.9416674500096681419848400He said both neighbors were injured attempting to rescue the fire victims.

Fillman said rescuing the victims was difficult because of the location of the woman and children trapped in the back of the mobile home. He said there was no direct access, and that some mobile homes burn very quickly. The location of the mobile home forced firefighters to truck in all the water to extinguish the blaze, rather than utilizing fire hydrants.

"Some of these older mobile homes, the flame spread is 60 feet per minute," he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.