Woman and 5 of her children die in Berrien County motel fire
SODUS TOWNSHIP, MI -- The Berrien County's Sheriff Department has confirmed one woman and five children died in a fire at the Cosmo Extended Stay Motel early Saturday morning.
The call for the fire came in at 1:45 a.m.
Residents say the flames spread quickly, but fire crews did not arrive until 45 minutes later. ABC57 has not confirmed when fire trucks arrived. Tamika Robertson lived in the building, she said that police officers tried to get everyone out of the building before fire officials arrived. "The fire department was so slow," she said.
Police say the fire started in the second building of the motel. It quickly spread to the third building.
Officials say all of the victims who have died were from one family.
The autopsies performed stated the cause of these deaths was smoke inhalation.
Four other people who were living at the motel and four first responders were treated for smoke inhalation. They are expected to be okay.
The victims who died have been identified as:
- Kiarre Curtis, age 26
- Marquis Thomas, age 10
- Gerome Randolph, age 7
- Samuel Curtis, age 5
- Savod Curtis, age 4
- Avery Curtis, age 2
Curtis is the mother of the five children who lost their lives.
Her husband, Samuel Curtis, 36, and one of her children, age 1, were able to escape from the motel during the fire.
Daniel Cronk has lived in the motel for many years. He said that he watched Samuel Curtis looking for his family outside the building. But Cronk also said that he watched the children being removed from the motel. “I seen the children being pulled out of the hotel, smoke rolling off of their lungs, and I don’t think it’s an image I’m going to forget,” he said.
The Berrien County Sheriff's Department says 90 percent of the building was affected. The building is believed to be a total loss.
Police say almost all rooms have either fire, smoke or water damage. Twenty seven of the rooms were occupied with residents, but officials aren't sure how many people were in the motel at the time of the fire.
Officials said the cause of the fire was due to a faulty electrical appliance.
The Red Cross has set up a shelter for the displaced residents at a local school. Officials said if you would like to drop off any donations to do so at 6 Degrees Resale Store in Benton Harbor.
A picture of the Curtis family courtesy of Kiarre Curtis' Facebook page.Kiarre Curtis
Picture of Kiarre Curtis courtesy of her Facebook page.