Fire swept through a Moss Point Apartment Building Monday morning, killing two young brothers. Three-year-old Philip Burts Junior and two-year-old Keyshawn Burts were pronounced dead at the scene. The boys' mother and baby sister managed to escape the burning apartments.
Fire investigators spent much of the day sifting through the charred remains of the single story brick apartment on Jasmine Street, searching for clues as to what caused the fatal fire.
Claudia Johnson escaped the blaze with her youngest daughter. But by standers and firefighters were unable to rescue her two young boys.
"The fire was so hot when our units got here, our guys immediately tried to extinguish the fire and gain entry so they could effect a rescue, but that effort proved unsuccessful," Moss Point Fire Chief Mike Dale said.
Jean Bracks lives next door. She saw the smoke and heard the cries for help.
"It was a tragedy," Bracks said. "The lady was out in the street hollering, 'Somebody help rescue my two children. My kids is in the house.' And she had one under her arm."
Fire investigators, including the deputy state fire marshal and ATF representatives, worked through the day to try and pinpoint a cause. The apartment owner was among those anxious for answers.
"All my apartments have smoke detectors. We do occasional checks to make sure they've got a smoke detector," owner Nathan Gray said.
The toll of this tragedy was especially evident in the faces of firefighters, who did all they could.
"We've got a couple of new guys and some of them, this was their first fire. And to have your first fire be one with deaths is a bad thing to start out with. But they just need to get used to it and continue on with their job," Chief Dale said.
The Red Cross is providing assistance to all the families affected by this fire. The agency will give the displaced families temporary housing and meals.
One sad irony is that the man who normally oversees the assistance to fire victims is related to the family. He's the uncle of the two young victims.