‘The fire just exploded’: Great grandfather burned trying to save children in fire recounts experience

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DRUMMONDS, Tenn. -- The Tipton County Sheriff's Office and several fire agencies are still investigating the deadly trailer fire that killed two children in the small Tipton county community of Drummonds Wednesday morning.

"I put a wet towel over my head but it didn’t help none. I just couldn’t get in."

His burned arms bandaged, Maynard Huffman shared his story with us.

"Within two or three minutes you know the whole house was on fire. Toward the time the fire department got there it was burned down mostly, you just couldn’t get it, you just couldn’t get in.”

Moments after he spotted smoke coming from the trailer his young great grandchildren were inside.

"Within 15 seconds after I opened the door it was like the fire just exploded. You know and it just shot out the door and there was another door and I tried to get in it and anyway it was the same thing. I went around to the window maybe to break the window out but the time I got to the window the window just blowed out too," he explained.

Inside were two-year-old Christopher, known as Dwayne, and his sister, four-year-old Katie Sutton.

Huffman, and the children’s mother, watched helplessly.

"Wasn’t nothing you could do," he said.

Since the tragedy the community and family are coming together to remember the young victims.

Grandmother, Becky Duell said complete strangers have stopped by her house to offer condolences. They also thanked all the first responders  who were at the scene.

Duell said little Christopher was always playful, while Katie was the sassy one.

"They were full of life and my heart," she said.

Now as this family comes together during this difficult time they have a message for others.

"It doesn’t matter the age or anything, you know, tell your family you love them every day, love on them, make sure they know," said Duell.

The family lost everything in the fire, and now, only week weeks away from Christmas, they are not sure where they are going to end up.

The family also have two other children who were at school at the time of the fire.

To help the family, click here.

Family says donations being taken at Lighthouse Apostolic Church at 2536 Tracy Rd, Atoka, Tn from 6pm-9pm Thursday and Friday.


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