CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two children were killed and a teen is in critical condition after a Clarksville fire Tuesday morning.
A neighbor called 911 after she spotted the fire around 4 a.m. in the 400 block of Shelby Street while she was outside getting her morning paper. She said she saw the homeowners trying to fight the flames with a water hose.
When crews arrived, heavy smoke and flames could be seen coming from the residence.
“The conditions were not good for the firefighters,” Fire Marshal Ray Williams said. “There were a lot of flames [and] a lot of smoke. Those guys had to enter from an outside window to get there.”
Despite the firemen’s efforts, siblings 9-year-old Travis Howard Jr. and 11-year-old Ann Howard died.
Family members described Ann as a sweet girl who loved animals and wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up.
Her brother Travis was also described as a sweet child who had autism and loved trains.
The children’s oldest brother, Joshua Phillips, 14, was airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he is receiving treatment in the burn unit.
He was last listed in critical condition, but is said to be alert after he inhaled chemicals in the fire.
The children’s parents and an 18-year-old visiting the home at the time escaped without injury.
“Their mother and father, so distraught they, they don’t even know. They’re just in total disbelief and shock,” said the children’s aunt, Heather Saunders.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. Tennessee Bomb and Arson is assisting.
“We think it was an accidental fire here,” Williams said. “We have two children who died and a third who may die. It’s been a tragic situation all together.”
Fire officials said there may not have been a working smoke detector in the home, which is considered a complete loss.
The family also did not have life insurance for their children.
Tuesday morning’s early morning was the fourth fatal fire in Montgomery County this year.