NEWNAN, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News crews saw dozens of people placing balloons and flowers at a growing memorial outside of a home in Newnan, where a mother and four girls were killed this weekend in an early-morning fire.
The fire happened at about 1 a.m. Saturday at a home on Midland Park Lane.
"There were five fatalities, one adult and four children. The children are 5, 3, 2 and 1 year of age," said Newnan Police Chief Douglas Meadows, holding back tears.
The Coweta County coroner identified the 27-year-old woman as Alonna McCrary. The children who died in the fire are Eriel McCrary, 5, Messiah White, 3, Nikia White, 2, and McKenzie Florence, 1, according to the coroner's office. The oldest girl inside the home, 11-year-old Molly McCrary, survived.
Relatives said two of Alonna McCrary's daughters were away with their grandmother when the fire happened. The other three stayed at the Newnan home to have a sleepover with their two half-sisters.
Channel 2's Amanda Cook spent the day gathering details at the scene.
Police said Alonna McCrary ran to the 11-year-old's room to wake her at the time of the fire. The 11-year-old made it out of the home safely with the help of a neighbor. Police said at some point, the mother ran to get the other children, but she was later found dead inside the home along with the young victims nearby.
"It's just a tragedy for something like this to happen," said Alonna McCrary's great aunt, Shannon Arnold. "(Alonna) just had so much love for all the girls. Just about every weekend, or every other weekend, they were together."
Investigators believe the fire was accidental and may have started in an electrical panel in the living room.
Two months ago, Tamara Terrel and her two sons moved out of the home and Alonna McCrary moved in with her children.
Terrel said she is Alonna McCrary's cousin. Channel 2's Liz Artz spoke to Terrel Saturday evening.
Terrel talked about how she had ongoing electrical issues during the three years she resided at the property. Terrel said she doesn't believe property managers fixed the problems they said they had repaired.
"I'm absolutely sure they didn't fix it. This was the outcome of it," Terrel said.
A memorial fund has been set up at the United Bank of Newnan for McKenzie Florence, the youngest victim of the fire.
The family is trying to gather funds for funeral expenses and to buy clothing for Alonna McCrary's surviving children.
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