'Christmas tragedy': Two children killed in Detroit fire, mother saves 3-year-old by jumping out of window
Two other children, aged eight and ten years, who are from the same family were able to survive but were badly injured in the fire
Two boys aged six and seven years died in a horrific fire that took place on Christmas morning in Detroit. The boys' mother had to jump out of an upstairs window while holding onto a three-year-old child in her arms. Two other children, aged eight and ten, who are from the same family were able to survive but were badly injured in the fire. The fire had occurred on Detroit's east side just before 9 am. The two deceased children -- De'Lon Wheeler, 7, and Damarion Wheeler, 6 -- were found in the front living room of the two-story house.
The children's mother, Demika Pinson, spoke to Detroit News and said that the boys had fallen asleep "by the tree because they were so excited about getting up". Pinson and her three-year-old daughter were hospitalized but were not seriously injured. The child was said to be in the arms of her mother when she jumped out of an upstairs window. The two other children aged eight and ten suffered from third-degree burns to their hands and their face. Both are said to be in critical condition at the burns unit at the Children's Hospital of Michigan. Pinson shared, "It's unbelievable this is something to wake up to on Christmas."
Detroit firefighters had responded to a call on Friday at around 8:48 am in the 2000 block of Helen Street close to Eight Mile and Van Dyke. When they arrived, they saw heavy fire coming out of the windows of the house. Pinson's 6th child, an 11 months old, was not home at the time of the incident.
A deputy fire commissioner David Fornell said, "The fire pretty well destroyed the house. Just horrible. It was gutted." The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but firefighters shared that the house did not have any smoke detectors or any central heating. They also said that many space heaters had been found inside the home. Fornell shared, "It could have been electrical, Christmas tree or kids playing with matches, but it's not suspicious."
"It's definitely a Christmas tragedy," Fornell added. Fornell continued, "As we knocked the fire down, the woman told us two more children were inside. We did a search and discovered ... males in the front room."
Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said, "We suppressed the fire and unfortunately we lost two children. It's extremely tragic any time you lose a child, but any time you lose two children on Christmas, it's unimaginable."
Fornell later revealed that the eight-year-old and the ten-year-old had managed to escape from the first floor, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Earlier reports had cited officials saying that they may have also possibly jumped from the upper floor of the home. Fornell was able to confirm that Pinson was the mother of all five of the children. The father of the children, Darius Wheeler Sr., had kept a vigil at his daughter's bedside as per a video he shared on Facebook. "This is the worst Christmas present anyone could have," he revealed. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family move forward.