House Fire Survivor Out of Hospital

YAZOO CITY, Miss. (AP) - The only one of six children to survive a house fire that started while their mothers were allegedly at a nightclub was out of the hospital as investigators planned to interview him about what might have started the blaze.

Alfred Bell was treated Monday in Jackson, about 40 miles north of Yazoo City, for injuries that officials said were not believed to be serious. Five of his cousins died in the fire, which broke out in the single-story home shortly after midnight Monday.

Bell, 9, and the other children, ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 10, were left alone by their mothers, authorities said. The women, Clara Bell and Eugenia Bell, were each charged with five counts of negligent manslaughter and one count of felony child neglect. They were jailed on $250,000 bail each.

``All indications are that the two were at a local nightclub, `` said police Chief Mike Wallace.

Fire officials had not determined the cause of the fire late Monday and planned to interview Alfred on Tuesday, said Yazoo County Fire Marshal Jimmy Jackson.

Neighbors discovered fire and saw Alfred trying to escape. A woman, Cynthia Brown, smashed the window with a chair, according to witness Christopher Burnett.

``The kid was just there, right there at the window, so we just pulled him out,'' Brown, 26, said. A man, 19-year-old Antowain Johnson, ``tried to go back in and get the rest of them but the smoke wouldn't let him,'' she said.

The victims were identified as Devunte Bell, 10; Takiesha Bell, 3; William Bell, 1 1/2; Kayla Williams, 7; and Tytianna Bell, 4.

Katie Bell, the children's grandmother, said Eugenia Bell had come to her home and told her that neither she nor her sister had been home when the fire started.

Dorothy Bell, another relative, said Clara Bell was the mother of five of the children, including Alfred, and Eugenia Bell was the mother of one.

Alfred Williams Sr., father of Alfred, said Clara Bell told him that she was going to the nightclub and the children would have a baby sitter. ``I don't think she's (Clara Bell) ever going to get out of this,'' he said.

If convicted, the women could face a maximum 20-year sentence on each manslaughter charge and one year in prison on the neglect charge.


Related Article: Fire Kills 5 Kids in Yazoo City, Mississippi, 2 Moms Charged

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