OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) – A press conference was held Friday afternoon to discuss a mobile home fire where three children died on Thursday afternoon.
The fire happened in the 1300 block of South Long Street around 4:20 p.m. Opelika fire personnel rescued five children from the burning structure and EAMC EMS rushed them to East Alabama Medical Center.
Three of the children, 11-year-old Zakihia Core, 7-year-old Atira Core and 5-year-old Karmina Core, died at the emergency room from suspected smoke inhalation.
The other two children, 9-year-old Keiyonna Core and 3-year-old brother Bryson Core were airlifted from EAMC to Children's Hospital to Birmingham in critical condition, where they are now on life support.
According to Opelika Police Chief John McEachern, the mother of the children was not there at the time of the fire, but she did arrive within moments after the fire was reported. The mom was treated with minor burns, as well as the firefighters, after rescuing the children.
"I saw many tears in the eyes of many police officers and paramedics and first responders," said McEachern. "This is a tragic event and it's time to respect family and their mourning."
This incident remains under investigation and the cause of the fire has not been determined. The case will be presented to a grand jury which is a standard procedure in Alabama with the unnatural death of a child.
The bodies of the three children will be taken to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences medical examiner's office in Montgomery for a postmortem examination.
If you would like to help this family, an account has been set up at the Opelika Branch of Auburn Bank to help with financial expenses.
Auburn Bank - Opelika Branch
215 South 6th Street
Opelika, AL 36801
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Investigative Services Division of the Opelika Police Department at (334) 705-5220.