Husband and father Samuel Curtis lost all but one of his family members during a massive Saturday fire that swept through a Michigan motel, killing his wife and five of her children.
Curtis was the father of some children He died, said Robert Boyce, department head of Berrien County, adding that the father and a one-year-old child are the only survivors in the family.
"His whole world is turned upside down," said Boyce
killed in the fire were Kiarre Curtis, 26; Marquise Thompson, 10; Gerome Randolph, 7; Samuel Curtis, 5; Savod Curtis, 4; and Avery Curtis, 2, authorities said.
All eight family members had stayed in the same room at Cosmo Extended Stay Motel near Benton Harbor in the southwestern part of the state of Lake Michigan.
Cassundra Clements told WSBT TV from South Bend, Ind., That she was trying to help Samuel Curtis.
"I tried to get the (surviving) baby from the man if he fell, but he did not give up the baby, said Clements." He said, "That's all I have left."
Robert Payne, a motel dweller, knew the five children who died.
"You never talked about it, perfect," Payne said, "It breaks my heart that I will not see her anymore, that's a shame."
The 67-year-old said he sometimes gives them Money for sweets.
"It's tragic, it rips your heart out," Deputy Boyce said, "every time you have children, it's worse, if there are more children, it's even worse."
It will Assuming that the victims died from smoke poisoning, as autopsies were scheduled for Saturday, the South Bend Tribune reported.
The fire destroyed about 90 percent of the motel. At that time 27 rooms were occupied.
Four more people and four first responders were also hospitalized but released, WSBT reported.
"When we go outside, the building ends up exploding, the glass broke and there were big flames."
Sarah Sanders, another motel resident, said she had fled, after a friend shouted at them to get out.
"By the time we got outside, the end of the building exploded," Sanders told The Tribune. "The glass shattered and there were big flames."
The emergency call called the fire in Berrien County, Michigan. came at 1:45 local time.
Other motel guests, about two hours' drive southwest of Lansing, safely evacuated, officials said.
Boyce described the two-story motel as a place for low-income people "to get back on their feet."
Payne said the fire started just a few doors from his room.
"It breaks my heart that I will not see them anymore, that's a shame."
"I'm next to a fire and I live and these people are dead" According to the Tribune, Payne said, "I'm Twisted (19659005) The cause of the fire was not immediately apparent, but the authorities were investigating."
Leroy Johnson, who lives at the motel, told WSBT that the fire was in his room
"When I woke up, my bed burned. I said, oh my god. & # 39; I got my sheets and wet them and I tried throwing them on the bed and when I threw them on the bed, it did not work. So I asked the person over me for some salt, "Johnson said.
" When I put salt on it, I hurry and jump out, and as soon as I jump out, the whole room explodes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.