Flames and smoke filled a Durant house Sunday morning claiming the life of a toddler. Three year old Jamarion Brownlee most likely died of smoke inhalation, according to investigators. He was one of five children inside of the house at the time.
Police tape surrounds the northeast Depot Street home as fire investigators try to determine what happened. This, while a three year old little girl is in a Georgia burn center with third degree burns and a mother grieves for the child she fought to save.
"I got burned trying to save her, but I couldn't save both of them at the same time," said Felicia Brownlee.
She was outside her home with three of her five children before realizing two were left inside the raging inferno.
"My son woke me up. He said momma, momma the house on fire," said Brownlee. "So, I ran into the living room. That's when the whole back of the couch was on fire. I tried to put it out with water and everything. When I continued to put water on it, it just blazed on up."
Windows were busted out in an effort to save the children as flames chard most of the home. Three year old Jamarion Brownlee was in a back bedroom, stuck between flames and those trying to save his life.
The family says the toddler always had a smile and was a fighter. He survived leukemia as an infant.
"He was cancer free, but he was a playful person," said Brownlee.
"Spunky, full of joy, which ever," said Robert Brownlee, Felicia's brother. "Through the cancer and stuff he went through, we thought that was going to pull him down but it didn't. He bounced right back from it."
Brownlee had lived in the house a year. Now, it, along with all her family's belongings are gone and she's staying with relatives. The family says there is a lesson to learn from this tragedy.
"Once you lose a loved one it's hard, but it didn't have no smoke detectors," said Robert Brownlee.
The state fire Marshall's office is expected to be back tomorrow to continue its investigation.
The home caught fire several years ago, according to investigators. The Red Cross will assist the Brownlees including a grandmother who lived with them.
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1720 Valley View Drive