Mother, two children killed in Benton Harbor house fire

NOW: Mother, two children killed in Benton Harbor house fire

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety has now identified the mother and two children killed in a house fire Sunday morning.

Those three victims were identified as 30-year-old Amanda Hackney, 15-year-old Markese Dortch and 12-year old Sha’tari Razor, each of their lives taken when a fire broke out at their home.

“About 4:45 in the morning, my dog woke me up and I smelled smoke, I thought it was coming from this old church,” said witness Michael Hoyh, who lives at the Old First Congregational Church of Benton Harbor just down the street on Bellview.

After realizing the smoke wasn’t coming from his building, Hoyh ran down the street looking for who was in trouble.

“I grabbed my keys and I ran out of the building and took off down Bellview and when I got there, there was a gentleman outside screaming for his family and we were trying to control the father from running back into the building, we actually had to lay on top of him to stop him,” said Hoyh.

That man, 38-year-old Mark Hackney, is husband and step-father to those three victims caught inside the upstairs apartment of the family’s duplex.

According to the Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety, the heat and flames were too intense for firefighters to easily get inside.

Before they could find a way in, the second floor collapsed down into the first.

Despite being unable to save the mother and her two children, Hoyh said firefighters from both Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, along with neighbors, all fought their hardest to prevent this tragedy from becoming fatal.

“If it was me, I would want someone to do everything in their power to save a soul, to save a person, to save a family,” said Hoyh.

The Benton Department of Public Safety said the fire’s cause is still undetermined.

A local organization, the Mother Theresa Foundation, is now taking any items people can donate to the survivors.

The family of the fire victims telling ABC57 one thing they really need are clothes and toys for one of the children, an 8-year-old girl.

To donate any items, you can get in contact with Mother Theresa Foundation through their website.

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