SODUS TOWNSHIP, Michigan – A fire that swept through a southwestern Michigan motel early Saturday killed five children and their mother, the authorities said.
The Cosmo Extended Stay Motel at Sodus Township was filled with flames Firefighters arrived shortly after receiving an emergency call at 1:45 am, said the office of Berrien County sheriff
Kiarre Curtis, 26, and five children in the Ages 2 to 10 years probably drowned in smoke inhalation, Chief Deputy Robert Boyce said. Her husband and a 1-year-old child survived. All eight were in the same room.
"It's tragic, it's tearing at your heart," Boyce said. "Every time you have children, it's worse, if it's more children, it's even worse."
The motel is located off Interstate 94 in the southwestern corner of Michigan, approximately 160 kilometers from Chicago. The authorities said 27 rooms were occupied and 90 percent of the property had been damaged by smoke, fire or water.
Boyce described the two-story motel as a place for low-income people "to get back on their feet".  Eight people were treated for smoke poisoning and released from a hospital. The cause of the fire was not known immediately.
Curtis' husband, Samuel Curtis, was the father of some of the children who died, Boyce said.
"His whole world has been turned upside down," main MP
Sarah Sanders, a motel dweller, said she escaped after a friend shouted at her to quit.
"When we arrived outside, the end of the building exploded," Sanders told the South Bend Tribune. "The glass broke and there were big flames."
Another resident, Robert Payne, said the fire started just a few doors from his room. He said he liked the kids and sometimes gave them money for sweets.
"You never spoke, perfectly," Payne said. "It breaks my heart that I will not see her again, that's a shame."
This story has been corrected to indicate that the police are now saying that the dead woman is Kiarre Curtis and not Kiarre Samuel.