ATHENS, Ga. — Athens-Clarke County fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of an early morning fire that claimed the life of three people.
Investigators say they got a 911 call from someone in the Hallmark Mobile Home park on the 700 block of Spring Valley Road saying the house next to his was on fire.
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Crews arrived just after 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning to find a mobile home fully in flames.
Neighbors told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that the victims were a grandmother, mother and an 8-year-old girl.
“I’m still in shock,” said family member Stacy Johnson. “She was a loving person and I miss them. Hate this had to happen and hard pill to swallow.”
Neighbors like Al-Lynn Mayo said they saw the flames and ran to help. One man broke out two back windows.
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“I literally low-crawled through their back door and lit my phone flashlight, trying to tell them, ‘Look, if you can see light, your back door is open. Come this way.’ Could hear them tapping, trying to get out. It was just too much,” Mayo said.
A 12-year-old boy was able to escape the flames after trying to save his mother and sister. He was taken to Athens-Piedmont Hospital with burns to his chest and arms.
“He kept saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I just tried to get them out. I was trying to save them.’ Was the saddest thing I ever seen,” Mayo said. “I had to grab that baby and hold him and tell him, ‘You can’t go back in there.’”
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Firefighters say it took several minutes to get the blaze under control. Once it was safe, they were able to go inside the house and found the three victims.
“This is a tragic loss in our community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of the victims,” said Fire Chief Jeff Scarbrough.
Investigators say the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined at this time.