De’Lon Wheeler and Damarion Wheeler, Detroit brothers killed in Christmas Day fire as their mother, Demika Pinson & three other siblings survive. Cause of blaze unknown.
Two Detroit brothers, aged six and seven, were killed in a Christmas morning house fire, while three other siblings along with their mother managed to survive the inferno as it enveloped the family two story home.
Demika Pinson the children’s mother was forced to leap from an upstairs window holding a three-year-old in her arms. Two other siblings, an eight-year-old and ten-year-old, were badly burned in the blaze on Detroit’s east side just before 9am.
De’Lon Wheeler, aged seven, and Damarion Wheeler, aged six, were found dead in the front living room of the two-story house.
Pinson told the Detroit News that the boys had fallen asleep ‘by the tree because they were so excited about getting up’.
Pinson and her three-year-old daughter were hospitalized but were not seriously injured physically.
Cause of fire unknown
The eight-year-old and ten-year-old suffered third-degree burns to their hands and face. Both are in critical condition at the burns unit at at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Both had slept upon their mother’s request at the upstairs bedrooms despite their younger siblings sleeping by the Christmas tree downstairs.
Told Pinson: ‘It’s unbelievable this is something to wake up to on Christmas.’
Pinson also has a 6-month-old child, who was not at home when the fire broke out.
David Fornell, a deputy fire commissioner, said: ‘The fire pretty well destroyed the house. Just horrible. It was gutted.’
The cause of the fire has not been determined while firefighters said the house did not have working smoke detectors or central heating, and that a number of space heaters were found in the home.
‘It could have been electrical, Christmas tree or kids playing with matches, but it’s not suspicious,’ Fornell said.
‘It’s definitely a Christmas tragedy,’ he added.
Too excited for Christmas Day to arrive
‘We suppressed the fire and unfortunately we lost two children,’ said Detroit Fire Commissioner Eric Jones. ‘It’s extremely tragic any time you lose a child, but any time you lose two children on Christmas, it’s unimaginable.’
The Wayne County Medical Examiner is expected to take custody of the bodies and perform autopsies on the pair.
Fornell said later Friday that the eight-year-old and ten-year-old appear to have escaped from the first floor, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Fornell confirmed Demika the woman was the mother of all five children.
Firefighters responded to the call that came in at just before 9am on Christmas Day.
‘It looked like there was fire coming out of every window,’ Fornell said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family going forward.