In the aftermath of the blaze that razed his home and left him as the sole survivor early Saturday, fire officials in Mississippi say the lifeless bodies of five of Jake Presley’s six children were found huddled together in one room while the bodies of his wife and another child were found in another bedroom.
“They say you’re not supposed to question God, but how can you have anything like this happen and not ask why,” family friend Lynn Lee, who is a member at Raymond Road Baptist Church where the entire family were members, said as the congregation grieved Sunday in a WAPT report.
Fire Chief Jeff Blackledge told The New York Times that firefighters responded to a call around 12:30 a.m. and found the Presley family home on Old Vicksburg Road in Clinton engulfed in flames.
“At the time, they didn’t know how many people were inside the house, if anybody,” Chief Blackledge said.
They later discovered that inside the home were Jake’s wife, Brittany, 33, and their six children identified by city officials as: Lane, 13; Lawson, 12; Grayson, 6; Malcom, 4; Felicity, 1; and Landon Brookshire, 15.
Allen Short, a neighbor, told WLBT3 that Jake Presley tried desperately to save his family but the attempt only left him with second-degree burns and smoke inhalation for which he is currently being treated in hospital.
Short also raised concern that burglar bars on the family home may have been a factor in the family’s inability to escape the fire.
“I’d seen the dad and he told me, he didn’t think nobody else had gotten out. And, of course, with the burglary bars being on the house, I don’t know if that was a big factor in him trying to get them out and everything. It’s just — it’s just devastating,” said Short.
“[Jake Presley’s] hair was singed and he had a big cut on his arm where he busted one of the windows trying to get in there to him. And just couldn’t get to them,” he said.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair