Dad Was Christmas Shopping When Fire Killed 5 Kids

It's not yet clear how fire started in Arizona home
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2023 2:30 AM CST
Dad Was Christmas Shopping When Fire Killed 5 Kids
Flowers, stuffed animals and candles are placed on and along a chain-link fence in a makeshift memorial outside the Bullhead City, Ariz., duplex where five children were killed in a fire on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023. Authorities have yet to determine what caused the house fire.   (Bill McMillen/Mohave Valley Daily News via AP)

While an Arizona man stepped out to go Christmas shopping Saturday, the unthinkable occurred: A fire started in his Bullhead City, Arizona, duplex, and killed five children who were inside it. The man was the father to four siblings who died in the fire: a 4-year-old girl and boys ages 2, 5, and 13. The fifth child, an 11-year-old boy, was a relative who was visiting, AZCentral reports. No adults were in the home at the time, and there were no survivors, USA Today reports. No identities have been revealed. The father told police he was gone for about two and a half hours buying Christmas gifts and groceries.

It's not yet known how the fire started, but authorities say it began in the downstairs foyer and traveled up the only stairs inside the home, preventing the children—all of whom were in an upstairs bedroom—from escaping. Neighbors frantically tried to help, gathering hoses, breaking windows, and propping an extension ladder up against the side of the house in an attempt to reach the second floor, and the main body of the fire had been extinguished within nine minutes of the initial 911 call at 4:54pm. But it was too late. One neighbor says they didn't see or hear anything from inside the home: "There are many guys out here who would have went into that fire if we would have known there was children." A GoFundMe is raising money for the parents of the children; it names the parents as Nikki, Nicole, Marcie, John, Lydia, and Brian. (More Arizona stories.)

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