Second Child Dies After Apartment Fire In Franklinton
For the second time in a week, a fire in Franklinton has taken two lives.
This time, two children are dead.
It was the very worst of wake up calls.
"She was just screaming that her kids were in the house,” neighbor Ashley Parker said.
A desperate mother screaming for someone to help her children.
"She was basically saying that she woke up out of her sleep and when she woke up, the house was smoking. and she grabbed one kid, and she went to their room. I guess she couldn't get to it because of the smoke or whatever," neighbor Travion Harris said.
"She said the fire was in their bedroom and she couldn't get to them,” said Parker. “She did have black marks on her face from smoke, also her hair was burnt. It looked like she tried."
The mother told a 911 operator her two sons, ages 4 and 5, were trapped in the back bedroom.
"We're trying to get there and get to them,” said Columbus Division of Fire Battalion Chief Tracy Smith. “We know someone's in there; we know we have to find out where they're at."
Firefighters were able to rescue neighbors trapped on their balcony, and one of the boys trapped in the burning apartment.
Tragically for the other boy, time ran out.
"My daughter said that's a sight she never wanted to see again,” neighbor Ida Lynch said. “Never wanted to see children, a little boy, pulled out like that again. That was horrible. I can imagine what a mother feels like when she loses her children, especially when they're little like that."
Though firefighters say there was no indication of a working smoke detector in the apartment, management says otherwise.
Neighbor Margaret Lynch showed 10TV her two working detectors, and came to the defense of the building's owner.
"If there wasn't one working, the landlady would get her one to work in there. Because she's a very nice landlady," she said.
As the investigation continues, hearts and hopes are with a young mother grieving an unthinkable loss.
"It's really sad,” Harris said. “That's a real toll right there."
"My heart breaks for her,” Lynch said. “I never went through it, but my heart breaks for her."
Family members identify the boys who died as 5-year-old Keenyn Herral and 4-year-old Kentley Butcher.
Their mother Brooke Stalnaker suffered burns, but has been released from the hospital.
Her 11-month-old son is also expected to be okay.
Family members tell 10TV they believe this fire may have been started accidentally by the boys playing with a lighter.
Columbus Fire investigators say it's too early for them to confirm that.