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Four Children Die in Ohio Apartment Fire

April 4, 2006

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Four young brothers and sisters died in an apartment fire early Tuesday while their mother and her boyfriend waited for firefighters to bring a truck with a ladder long enough to reach the children.

The victims _ a 7-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old boys and a 3-year-old girl _ were found dead in the third-floor bedroom where they were trapped, fire department spokesman Larry Gray said.

Firefighters were responding to a car fire down the street before dawn when they saw smoke coming out of the three-story brick building, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Darnell said. A second fire truck had to be called to reach the top floor because the truck responding to the car fire did not have a long enough ladder.

Carl Bell, the boyfriend of the victims’ mother, said the children were crying for him to help them. He said he tried to rescue them but was driven back by intense heat.

Eight people were in the building at the time of the fire. Three adults, including the children’s mother, and an infant were taken to a hospital, Gray said. He did not know their conditions.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but arson investigators could be seen through the broken windows. Gray said the fire appeared to have started on the second floor, where there were apartments.

Patricia Evans, the children’s grandmother, could barely speak as she sobbed outside the hospital where their bodies were taken.

``It hurts so bad. I’m empty,″ she told television station WKYC. ``We have no money to bury them. I want the city of Cleveland to pray for me and my family.″

Autopsy results were expected Wednesday.

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