Coroner identifies 4-day-old, 6-year-old killed in devastating Gulfport fire; 6 still in hospital

There are four adults and two children in the hospital as a result of the fire.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 7:36 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 25, 2023 at 9:19 AM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Two young children died in a fire early Wednesday morning, Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer confirms; six other people are also in the hospital, some listed in critical condition.

Switzer identifies those children as 6-year-old Vashun Viverette and 4-day-old Kakashi Aubrey. Aubrey was just born January 21.

Viverette died at Memorial Hospital from smoke inhalation at 4:20 a.m., and Aubrey died at Singing River Gulfport from smoke inhalation at 5:30 a.m.

“I just hope everybody sticks together through this and keeps each other in prayer,” Councilman Kenneth “Truck” Casey Sr. said. “And God bless the family.”

The fire broke out early Wednesday morning at William Bell Apartments on 65th Avenue in Gulfport.

“This morning, I got a knock on my door from one of the neighbors saying, ‘Get up, get up. Your family member’s house is on fire’,” family member and neighbor Ernestine Pope told WLOX. “I just want to send my love, my heart. I want everybody to just keep the prayers going.”

There are four adults and two children in the hospital as a result.

The father of the family is stable, but the mother is listed in critical condition. Two children who were in the home are also in the hospital; a 4-year-old is stable, but a 2-year-old is in critical condition and was moved to a hospital in New Orleans.

Two other men who tried to help during the fire were also taken to the hospital.

“It was tough on our guys,” Gulfport Fire Chief Billy Kelley said. “These guys come to work every day, and they have children the same age. The look on their faces was tough.”

Kelley says the fire started in the kitchen. The apartment did have smoke detectors, but he says both witnesses and his firefighters do not remember hearing them while battling the fire. Crews are investigating whether they were working at the time.

“Smoke detectors save lives,” Kelley said. “Please don’t go without a smoke detector. We have them at our station, and we will come put them in for you, free of charge.”

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