Witness describes heartbreak of deadly fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Witness describes heartbreak of deadly fire

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Erin Ellis heard the screams witnessed the blaze that took the life of four-year-old Jarquavious Alston. Erin Ellis heard the screams witnessed the blaze that took the life of four-year-old Jarquavious Alston.

Erin Ellis heard screams outside her hair salon, then she looked out the window to see smoke coming out of the roof across the street. The cries for help came from the father who lived in the house.

"He was screaming for help and trying to go in, but he couldn't because it was so hot. The mother came out of the house. She'd been trying to get her baby out," Ellis described.

Ellis and others joined the parents in trying to get into the house to rescue four-year-old Jarquavious Alston, but they couldn't get past the heat and flames.

"I could see the heartbreak in her eyes, and the dad too. It was terrible," she added.

Alma Police Chief Brandon Sellers said that the fire was too far along when police and fire crews arrived to reach the child.

"We believe the fire started in the same room where the child was found, which was a bedroom," Sellers noted.

Specifically, the child was found in a closet where he may have tried to hide from the flames.

Sellers said the fire and the child's death remain under investigation by Alma Police, Alma Fire, and the fire marshal's office. In the meantime, he urged parents to create an emergency plan and teach children what to do to get out of their house safely.

If the loss of a child were not enough, the family lost everything else in the fire too. Friends have organized a collection drive.

Clothes can be dropped off at the Alma Times office at 227 West 12th Street. The newspaper posted the following list on their Facebook page:

"The mother wears a size 12 pants & large shirts & size 8 shoes. The father wears a size 42 pants and his shirts big like 4x or 5x. One child (BOY) wears a size 12 pants, 10 shirts and size 5 shoes. Another boy wears 2t-4t clothes and a size 7-8 shoe. Any household items will also be greatly appreciated."

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