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Trapped by burglar bars, four children die in burning house

February 5, 1997

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A neighbor reached through a window and felt a child’s body, and heard others moan and gasp for air, but metal bars on the window kept him from saving four children who died in a house fire Tuesday.

``I kept hollering and trying to yank the burglar bars off,″ Benjamin Pringle said after the fire burned his home and the one next door.

``I could hear the kids, there was moaning. I tried to tell them to go to the back door. But probably the smoke was overpowering them,″ he said.

Killed were 6-year-old Isaac Brown, 9-year-old Kevin Brown, 12-year-old Telena Allen and 13-year-old Mark Turner. They are all siblings except Mark, who is their cousin.

The children’s mother, grandmother and 4-year-old brother escaped and were treated for smoke inhalation. The fire’s cause was under investigation.

In 1993, window bars in a Bruce, Miss., apartment prevented a grandmother and seven children, ages 2 months to 15 years, from escaping a fire. In 1994, seven children died in a Detroit fire in which the oldest, a 9-year-old girl, tried frantically to lead the others to safety past barred windows, steel doors and a furniture barricade.

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