PORT ARTHUR — A Fourth of July fire in Port Arthur claimed the lives of three young children.
Family members have identified the children as Brooklynn McCray, 2; Jayden Pollard, 12; and Brayden Handy, 6.
Calls began to pour in to 911 around 12:10 a.m. reporting a fire at the Arthur Square Apartment complex located in the 1600 block of Poole Avenue. The first firefighters to arrive called for assistance from Port Arthur police officers to block off roads around the complex.
The children were found alone in an apartment. Rescue workers began CPR before rushing the kids to the hospital. A statement issued by the Fire Marshal’s office says the children were pronounced deceased at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas. The Fire Marshal says the children died from smoke inhalation.
According to the mother of the children, six of her seven children were living with her in the apartment for a month. One child had an asthma attack and she took them and two other children to the hospital, leaving the other three behind.
"I had no other choice, I had to leave and take him I mean if I waited till the next day, who knows he'd probably be dead too because he couldn't breathe so I had to go," said the mother Tikeshia McCray. '
McCray said she found out about the fire when she came back at home at 1 a.m. Port Arthur firefighters said they believe the kids were asleep when the fire happened.
"I don't think it's real right now so that's why it didn't hit me just yet," said McCray.
She said her 2-year-old daughter Brooklyn was very funny and loved the color pink.
She said her 6-year-old Brayden was also very funny and loved reading books.
She said her 12-year-old Jayden enjoyed playing basketball outside with his other brothers.
She said it's hard to believe that they will be gone forever.
"I don't think it's real right now, a lot of stuff going through my head, a lot of stuff right now we could've been in there too and burned up with them," said McCray.
McCray believes the fire could have been caused by an electrical issue with the porch light. She said she complained to the apartment complex several times but did not hear back. 12news reached out to the apartment complex but they did not give 12news a comment.
Shari Pulliam, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, confirmed that CPS is investigating.
Kristyn Cathey with Port Arthur ISD Public Relations said, "The Port Aurthur School district is in contact with the family and are grieving for children and family at this time."
Port Arthur Fire Marshals are investigating the scene and the cause of the fire is under investigation as of 10 a.m. The American Red Cross is assisting those displaced by the fire.
Fire officials say this is the highest number of fatalities related to a single fire since a garage apartment fire in 2009 in the City of Port Arthur.
If you would like to donate to help the family cover funeral expenses, you can visit this website.
A temporary restraining order was granted by judge Judge Floyd in defense of those who lost everything in the Arthur Square apartment fire. This temporary restraining order halts all investigations until independent experts are able to investigate the scene and all the evidence.