Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Kids, 1 Adult Killed in Northside Mobile Home Fire; 'I COULD HEAR SCREAMING'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Kids, 1 Adult Killed in Northside Mobile Home Fire; 'I COULD HEAR SCREAMING'

Article excerpt

Byline: Derek Gilliam

Clayton Woods, shirtless and looking shocked, sat on a rickety bench near fire trucks and police tape mourning the loss of one of his grandchildren. There might be more, but he wasn't sure.

In the end, the fire on Jacksonville's Northside took the lives of four people - three children and one adult, according to the family.

It burned through a double-wide trailer in the 12700 block of Palmetto Street near Oceanway Middle School about 5:40 p.m., killing one adult and one child at the scene, Fire Rescue spokesman Tom Francis said.

Thelma Carter, Woods' 64-year-old sister, said two other children died at UF Health Jacksonville. She said only one survived - the oldest. Carter said the grandmother, a woman in her 50s, was the adult in the home who died.

Woods, 68, said the Department of Children and Families had moved his four grandchildren - an 8-month-old, a nearly 2-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 6-year old - Tuesday to the home that was later destroyed in the fire.

Spencer Gwynn, 43, said he saw a cone of flames shooting out the roof and rushed to help. He saw two other people trying to help and a little girl in the front yard screaming. He said he immediately attempted to break the windows, using a toy wagon at one point.

Gwynn said every time he was able to break a window, fire or heavy smoke poured out.

"We can't breath, we can't move. We can't do anything," he said with emotion in his voice. "... The girl says there's people in the house. What do I do?"

He said there's a fire station nearby, but it seemed like it took the fire department a long time to respond.

Francis said emergency dispatch received the call at 5:40 p.m. and arrived at 5:44 p.m. He said he was unaware of anything unusual that took place in regard to response time to the fire. Francis said it took firefighters about 25 minutes to put the fire out. He said the response time wasn't a factor. Francis said the state fire marshal is investigating.

Gwynn said he saw the firefighters bring out the children and lay them in the yard.

"And then they bring out a little girl, and then they bring out a little boy," he said. …

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