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Veteran attempts to enter burning home to help, calls 911

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - An army veteran with ten years in the service, including a tour in Iraq, says that was nothing compared to the devastation he witnessed Monday morning on Schuyler Street as he called 911 to report a home engulfed in flames, and even tried to run into the home, himself.

"Heartbreak" was the word heavily used Monday morning by both Utica Fire Chief Russell brooks, and many of the residents of the neighborhood where the tragedy broke out and a mother and three children were killed.

As the fire raged on around 9:30 a.m., both sides of the street were lined with concerned people who were unsure at the time if there were still any people inside the structure.

Just before 10 a.m., two young bodies were pulled out and all you could hear were sobs and crying coming from both sides of the street.

Within about five minutes after that, Chief Brooks informed what appeared to be the sister of the mother who, along with her children, were killed, of the tragic news. The sister, coming down Schuyler Street, immediately dropped to her knees upon hearing the news.

Ten minutes later, the boyfriend of the mom also came down Schuyler Street and was informed by the chief as well as to what happened.

Among those many sobs and cries along the street, was a man who witnessed much of the devastation and tragedy from almost the beginning.

The man - Clyde Taylor - an Iraq War veteran, said he ran into the house to try and save the family.

Taylor said he had just dropped his girlfriend off at work on Court Street Monday morning and he was driving by when he spotted the smoke and just stopped at that moment.

"From there, I called 911 and started running around banging on houses. I ran about two steps into the burning house. I couldn't go any further, I almost passed out at the door. So I called 911," Taylor said. "I didn't give any addresses - I just said 'fire! Schuyler street!' and I hung up the phone. And now I'm seeing there's two babies...I couldn't get to the babies. What's the point if you can't get to them....it doesn't matter where you're from...you see that, you need help. I seen that woman running outside with her babies, I thought she was under attack first. So I got in that mode, and that I saw smoke, so I clicked into that mode. I ran into that house. I didn't think. You don't think. You go in the house"

Taylor said that he'll live with the memories of Monday morning the rest of his life, and called it the most devastating thing he's ever come across, including his ten years in the army and his tour over in Iraq.

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