What local fire officials are calling the worst fire in Memphis, Tenn., in almost 100 years swept through a one-story home Monday, killing nine people, including five kids, USA Today reports. Per the Commercial Appeal, the city's fire director, Gina Sweat, confirmed the deaths at a press conference and said one child is still in bad shape at a local hospital. She added the fire appears to have started in the living room, though fire officials are still checking out the evidence. NBC News reports there was a smoke detector in the home, though Sweat says it's unclear whether it was working; she also notes that the windows were barred, which may have prevented the victims' escape.
Among the dead are an unidentified 18-year-old man, 56-year-old Carol Collier, 27-year-old Lakeisha Ward, and 61-year-old Eloise Futrell. The children who died, said to all be Futrell's grandkids, ranged in age from 3 to 16. "I've never seen firemen cry, but they were bawling like babies when they brought the children out," a neighbor tells the Appeal. Family members say the children's father had run out to the store, and he came upon the deadly scene when he arrived back home. "Our hearts are ripped in two," Futrell's niece says, and Sweat says the firefighters at the scene feel the same. "Nothing in our training can truly prepare us for this heartbreaking event," she says, per NBC. (A terrible fire in February killed four kids in Florida.)