Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

The Willingham Files

September 3, 2009

(12-23-91) Fire claims lives of 3 children

Originally published Dec. 23, 1991

A house fire at 1200 W. 11th Ave. claimed the lives of three children late Monday morning, twin 1-year-olds and a 2-year-old girl.

Police and firefighters could provide few details about the cause of the blaze that broke out just after 10:30 a.m.

The names of the victims are currently being withheld.

Justice of the Peace Connie Mayfield donned a fire coat and boots and entered the gutted wood frame home just after 11:15 a.m. The look on her face as she emerged moments later said it all.

Mrs.Mayfield pronounced the twins dead inside the fire-ravaged home.

As more emergency crews sped toward the scene, the address was, again, radioed over the police scanner to those en route, "Step on it," added the man.

Emergency vehicles and fire hoses filled the street in front of and around the site of the fire.

In front of the charred house, a man believed to the father of the children sat on the back of a firetruck, sobbing. "I want to see my babies," he screamed. He was later taken to Navarro Regional Hospital, fighting wildly against the four Corsicana police officers who carried him to a stretcher.

Less than 10 minutes later, as part of the house still burned, a firefighter carried the limp 2-year-old girl from the home and immediately began performing CPR on the child.

He continued his efforts to revive the child as she was loaded on an ambulance. News of her death came at noon.

As news of what had happened circulated, a look of shock and grief crossed the faces of officials, emergency personnel and others at the scene.

Arriving relatives, said to be the grandparents of the children became hysterical, learning of the children's deaths.

Police Chief J.J. Ryzman arrived at the scene at 11:15 a.m., along with Detective Bob Blake and Sgt. Gary Youngblood. Ryzman and Assistant Fire Chief Doug Fogg declined comment.

It was not known whether anyone besides the three children were in the house at the time of the fire.

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