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Neighbors, Good Samaritans, recount fire that left mother & her two children dead, six others injured

<i>WJZ</i><br/>Sterling Avery
Sterling Avery

By Ava-joye Burnett

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    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A tragic situation in East Baltimore left a mother and her two children dead after an early morning fire ripped through a rowhome.

“I heard one of the men screaming ‘help, help’,” said one good samaritan who helped rescue some of the children.

When the fire broke out early Monday on North Patterson Ave, at least seven children were inside. They were there for a sleepover. A 33-year-old man was also present.

“When I looked at that house all in my mind was how many kids is it, help them,” one woman said. “I heard somebody saying they were trapped, so when I went back I saw the baby flying out of the window when I caught the baby and I got a blanket and I wrapped them up. As I was doing that, it was too late for me to go back to get anybody else.”

Family members told WJZ that the three victims who died were a mother and two of her kids — an older boy and a younger girl.

“Janice was a loving mother. She really took good care of her kids,” said Tionne Bratton-Bey, cousin.

The kids who escaped ranged in ages from two to 15. Eleven-year-old Sterling Avery was one of the children who escaped, he recalled the traumatic moments inside.

“My heart was beeping real fast,” said Avery. “They were stuck in the room. They couldn’t get out.”

Two of the surviving children lost their mother and siblings in the fire. The school will be collecting supplies for the survivors.

During this period of tragedy, the family is trying to see the glimmer of hope.

“Something that you don’t expect, you know sitting around planning for Thanksgiving and now will be planning for not a funeral for one person, but a funeral for three people,” said Bonita Brooks.

The Baltimore Fire Department said there were working detectors inside the home. The cause remains under investigation.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday afternoon tweeted his condolences to the families of the victims.

“Our hearts are heavy today following the devastating fire in East Baltimore that took the lives of three people and injured six others during a child’s sleepover,” he wrote. “Our prayers are with the families of the victims, and we thank all of the first responders for their swift action.”

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