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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Nine people are dead in an early morning house fire according to family members.
Six children and three adults were killed according to officials.
One child is in critical condition.
The fire started around 1:30 a.m. at a house in the 1100 block of Severson Ave. in South Memphis.
"Fire department companies dispatched at 01:23 hours and arrive at the scene at 01:27- four minutes later," said Director Gina Sweat.
We're told a 911 call was made from inside the home by a family friend, Carol Collier, who was staying with the family.
Veronica Fayer, Lakesha Ward's mother, said her daughter probably lost her life fighting to save others.
"She was a good mom. She always took in the kids whenever, it didn't matter."
Ward provided a safe haven for Precious Rose, 3; Kierra Jett, 5; Angel Mitchell, 16; Alonzo Ward, 6; Diamond Jett, 7; Earnest Jett V, 9; and Cameron Jett,8.
Fayer believes Ward died trying to help the children when flames broke out in the living room.
Firefighters said smoke was coming from the home when they arrived after an electrical cord malfunctioned and caught on fire.
The home had bars on all its windows.
When the flames were put out, first responders were left with a devastating scene.
"Possibly have another inside. We have located 2 so far," dispatch could be heard saying over the radios.
"Located 2 more for a total of 4 possible DOA...Located an additional victim for a total of 5. Need an additional engine company."
"Total of 7 victims all in the front yard."
Most died at the scene, several others died at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.
The other adult who died in the fire was 61-year-old Eloise Futrell.
One child, Cameron, is still at the hospital recovering.
Lt. Wayne Cooke with the Memphis Fire Department said this is one of the worst fires he's had to deal with in his 27 years with the department.
Cooke said grief counselors will be provided for the personnel who handled the fire as well as at the school the young children attended.
A friend of the family is working with Memphis Fire Department to help the family in this time of need.
They will be at Eternal Peace Baptist Church at 1251 South Willett Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You can buy hot dogs, smoked sausages and hamburgers, and proceeds will be donated to the family.
Memphis Fire will be there handing out free smoke alarms.
In addition, there will be a vigil and fundraiser 9 a.m. Tuesday at Union and Cooper.