Gulf Park Estates house fire injures children and grandmother

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS  (WLOX) -  A house fire in Jackson County Thursday morning seriously injured two young children and their grandmother.

It happened around eight o'clock in the Gulf Park Estates subdivision.

Five month old Maddan Gunn and two year old Benjamin Gunn were both flown to a burn unit in Birmingham, Alabama.

Their grandmother, 57 year old Cathy Bradley, is in Ocean Springs hospital.

The grandmother and toddler managed to escape the burning home on their own. But the five month old baby was trapped in a second story bedroom.

An off duty sheriff's deputy was among the first on the scene tried frantically to reach the infant.

"I tried to make entry through the front door. I kicked it as much as I could. I actually shot the locks off the front door and made entry. It was obvious I wasn't getting in that way," said Mike Hurring, who lives in the neighborhood.

"A neighbor got me a ladder and I went upstairs to that top left hand window. And an Ocean Springs officer was a great help to me. And I made entry through that window, but it was just too hot. Too smokey. I couldn't get the baby out," Hurring explained.

"We made an initial attack. And started doing a search and went on fighting the fire, suppressing the fire as we were doing a search of the house," said Michael Belton, chief of the Fountainbleu department.

Firefighters managed to knock down the fast moving flames and reach the baby on the second floor.  A neighbor who watched the rescue unfold is upset over what happened.

"My main concern is that there was no urgency. There was a baby in there.  When the fire department drove up, no one tried to get that baby out. And that is what I am very upset about. I live two doors down and if this were my child, I don't know what I'd be doing right now," said an emotional Brandy Prince.

Both the off duty deputy who responded and the Fountainbleu fire chief disagree with that neighbor's opinion that there was no "sense of urgency" among first responders.

"It was definitely happening a lot faster than they think it was. It's just that you have to get the lines charged and get everybody packed up to get them inside the door, which takes a minute or so. And it might seem like forever, but it was happening pretty fast," said Chief Belton.

"It's a very, very dangerous situation. And i think the fire department did a good job.  Always a bad situation when there's kids involved," said Hurring.

Firefighters from Gulf Park Estates also responded to the call.  Investigators believe the blaze may have been sparked from a fire in the fireplace.

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