Investigators are continuing to search for the cause of a house fire that claimed four young lives in Conyers on Tuesday night.
According to authorities in Conyers, seven people were in the home when the fire broke out in a bathroom on the second floor of a duplex just after 11 p.m. on Pinedale Circle. They say officers arrived within 30 seconds of the call, and found the front door open and could see flames coming down the stairs. The officers tried to use fire extinguishers but couldn't put out the blaze.
Conyers police Major Mike Waters says the mother, 28-year-old Reba Glass, rushed upstairs and tried to get her five children out of the home, but was only able to save a 6-year-old boy by throwing him out of a second story window. The boy, identified as Darnell Glass, suffered a broken collar bone, and was transported to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
Authorities say the mother jumped out of the window to escape the flames, and tried to go back inside to rescue her other children but couldn't make it.
A neighbor, Lamonta Stroud, found the injured mother on the ground. Desperate to help, Stroud ran to the back of the home, and climbed on top of a shed to reach the children inside.
"And I just broke a window and telling them to come to the bathroom, come to the bathroom. I can get you out if you come to the bathroom. But I guess they couldn't hear me or something. I don't really know," said Stroud.
Authorities say they tried to airlift the injured mother to a hospital but bad weather turned the helicopter around. The mother was then transported by ambulance to Grady Hospital, with burns to 40 percent of her body. Her condition is described as serious.
Rockdale County Fire Chief Dan Morgan says flames were coming out of two windows, with one of the windows on the back side. One crew went into the home to put out the flames, while a second crew got the four children out of the home and unsuccessfully tried to revive them.
Neighbor Leslie Slater says others tried to help rescue the children from the home. She says some neighbors were able to make their way into the home, but the thick smoke obscured their vision and they had to run back out of the home.
A pastor for the family identified the deceased children as 8-month-old Deon Glass, 3-year-old Amoni Roberts, 7-year-old Dar'Shawn Glass and 9-year-old Ah'Dariya Glass. Morgan says the children were found in two rooms of the home. A grandmother at the home was treated and released.
A woman who lives in the neighborhood says the tragedy is hitting the community hard, and that everyone is pulling for the family.
"One of my grandkids went to school with two of the kids, and my prayers just go out to the family. It's just a loss. We're just going to try to stick with the family," said neighbor Trena Clark.
Investigators with four agencies, including the Georgia State Fire Marshal's Office and the Rockdale County Fire Department, are working to determine the cause of the fire.
The community remembered the victims in a candlelight vigil on Tuesday night. Services will be held for the children next Saturday.