Two brothers killed in house fire, 4 escape

May 11, 2011 2:34:18 PM PDT
Two brothers were killed Wednesday morning when their family home caught on fire. It happened around 1 a.m. at a home on Holloway Street in Durham.

The brothers, 20-year-old Larry Cole and 19-year-old Demacio Cole, lived in the home with their mother, stepfather and their sister, along with her two children, ages one and three.

Officials say the fire originated in the living room. They ruled the blaze to be accidental after they determined it stemmed from Larry and Demasio Cole's 3-year-old nephew playing with a lighter.

Officials said when they arrived, the single-story wood framed house had heavy fire and smoke coming from the two front rooms and attic of the house.

"I was in my bed asleep and I heard my stepdaughter yelling 'fire, fire,'" said James Moore, the brothers' stepfather . "I opened up my door and fire hit me in the face."

Moore says he ran to the back of his home to get a bucket of water, but by then the flames had risen, along with his stepdaughter's screams.

"I heard her scream and holler 'my brothers are in there, my brothers are in there,' so I ran to the side of the house, threw a brick through the window, then took a stick and broke the whole window out," Moore said. "I was hollering for them, but nobody said anything."

His stepdaughter, Shamiquea, was able to escape the burning home before a Good Samaritan went in and rescued the two children.

"The front room was in flames, I saw two small kids there, so I grabbed them, put them in my arms and ran out the door. Then the front room just exploded," Jesse Dixon said. "Two other kids were in the back rooms, but I couldn't get to them because of the fire."

The children and their mother were taken to the hospital, but the extent of their injuries are unclear at this time.

Moore's wife - the brothers' mother - was in Virgina visiting her sick father at the time of the blaze.

Moore says he had to call his wife and break the news to her over the phone. He has been waiting at the charred home all morning for her to return.

Family and friends have been stopping by the house all morning, leaving flowers out front in memory of two brothers who not only died on the same day, but also came into the world on the same day - born exactly one year apart.

"They are both good kids, never got in any trouble, everybody liked them," family friend Sheri Smallwood said. "They liked to have cookouts, have parties, hang out with their friends."

Moore, who works at Duke University, says everything the family had has been destroyed.

The Red Cross is currently assisting the family in finding a place to stay.

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