‘She knew they were gone’: Neighbor describes mom’s agony during Sampson County fire that killed toddlers

North Carolina

ROSEBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — Two 3-year-olds were killed and a 12-year-old was injured trying to save them in a Sampson County house fire early Friday, the sheriff’s office said.

The call was first reported around 9:15 a.m. at a home in the 8800 block of Roseboro Highway.

The mothers of the children made it out safely with other kids, but then were outside and saw the fire consume the room where the two toddlers died.2 toddlers killed, 12-year-old injured trying to save children in Sampson County house fire 

“I went around front and there was just fire coming out the windows,” said neighbor Ronald Williams who helped all he could. “I saw people hanging out the window, I went over there and helped her get out the window and I got the baby out the window.”

Roseboro’s fire chief said two women were inside with their children when they woke up to smoke. The two toddlers were in the end bedroom.

“No matter what we did, we could not get in that bedroom until it was too late,” said Roseboro Fire Chief Lee Coleman.

Williams watched one of the mothers in agony.

“She just dropped to the ground because she knows they were gone. She knew they were gone, there was nothing more anyone could do,” said Williams.

The young boy and girl were often seen playing outside.Mom shares heartbreak after son, his 10-month-old child killed in NC apartment fire 

“They were sweet children. They were really sweet. They’re going to be really missed,” said relative Annie Joyner.

A 12-year-old who lived in the home was brought to the hospital for cuts from trying to save the toddlers.

“They were just jolly children, joyful children,” said relative and neighbor Lester Simpson. “Last night, they were looking at fireworks last night. You just never know.”

Coleman said the fire started in the room where they found the toddlers’ bodies.

“I don’t think it’s really hit a lot of my younger guys that were here and saw that,” said the Coleman.

Now, bikes of children in front of the charred building serve as a reminder of the others who didn’t survive.

“Everybody that can get a prayer through, pray for this family, because they’re hurt right now. We’re hurt right now, but this family needs it more,” said relative Linda Herring.

Officials don’t yet know what caused the fire but are investigating. They do believe it’s accidental.

The SBI and State Fire Marshal have been asked to assist in the investigation.

Names of those involved have not been released at this time.

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