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Sheriff: Fire that killed 2 children, injured 5 others is ‘gut-wrenching’


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    Ogemaw County, MI (WNEM) — A tragic chain of events played out at a home in Ogemaw County on Thursday. It’s something Ogemaw County Sheriff Brian Gilbert said he will always remember.

“It’s a gut-wrenching feeling because you’re dealing with children,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert was on the scene as firefighters urgently tried to rescue two toddlers trapped inside the burning home just after 8 a.m. on Thursday.

“It wasn’t all the way out and they were in there. They wanted to get those babies out of there,” Gilbert said.

Despite their best efforts, 5-year-old Kenneth Brandon and 2-year-old Lillian Brandon perished in the fire.

“We found them in the bedroom and that’s heart-wrenching,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert said the first responders working the fire have children of their own. So the loss of young life has hit them all hard.

“They put themselves in the victims’ predicament and I don’t know how anybody could handle that. I really don’t,” Gilbert said.

In all, there were seven people in the home when the fire broke out. Kenneth Brandon, 40, 32-year-old Cristina Crossley, 13-year-old Patrick Laney, 11-year-old Kristyanna Miller, and 8-month-old Lila Brandon survived the fire.

Gilbert said last he heard, all five were still in the hospital. Their conditions are unknown. Gilbert also said the Mills Township Fire Department is looking to start a fundraiser for the family.

In the meantime, Gilbert has a message for all those affected by the fire.

“We have to embrace each other and lean on each other and talk about it. We need to talk about it to get it out. We don’t want to bottle this up,” Gilbert said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

If you would like to help out the family, a GoFundMe has been created.

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