Family Of Five Passes Away While Dad Was Christmas Shopping 

Family Of Five Passes Away In House Fire While Dad Was Christmas Shopping

A father is in mourning after losing his children while reportedly grocery and Christmas shopping. According to the Associated Press, the incident happened on Saturday (Dec. 16) evening near the Colorado River in Arizona.

The father — unidentified by the media — had reportedly left five children in the home alone for two and a half hours.

Four children were siblings, while the other was a visiting 11-year-old male relative. The siblings included one four-year-old girl and three boys, ages 2, 5, and 13.

What Police Know & Neighbors Witnessed In Christmas Shopping Housefire

So far, officials told the press it started in the downstairs foyer of the two-story duplex. However, the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing. It appears to be a collaborative cause between police, the local fire department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Fire officials discovered the deceased bodies of all five children in one bedroom. It appears they had been trapped upstairs. Smoke and flames had reportedly spread from the foyer and up the only staircase in the home.

Though firefighters extinguished the central fire “within minutes,” per PEOPLE, it was too late to save the children.

12 News captured footage of the flames bursting through the duplex’s rooftop. Watch below.


At this time, it’s unclear if local prosecutors plan to charge the adult male in connection to the children’s death. No word on how far away the father was allegedly grocery and Christmas shopping. It’s also unclear if he received a phone call about the fatalities and charred home or if he appeared on the scene amid the emergency response.

After the incident, neighbors recalled what they witnessed to officials. Patrick O’Neal reportedly told investigators several neighbors tried to access the home via the garage. However, the heavy smoke pouring from the house was “choking people out.”

Per AP, neighbors also gathered hoses and broke windows to try to get inside, despite not knowing the kids were home alone.

“We were screaming at the tops of our lungs,” Patrick reportedly told reporters on Monday. “We didn’t see nothing. We didn’t hear nothing. There are many guys out here who would have went into that fire if we would have known there was children … We did everything we could.”

The community reportedly plans to hold a memorial vigil for the children on Wednesday night at a nearby park. Community members have raised over $16,000 on GoFundMe for funeral and related expenses.

RELATED: 28 People Reportedly Displaced & Two Arrested In Connection To Fire At Atlanta Apartment Complex


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