Three young siblings died when fire tore through their Pine Haven Circle home in Rome's outer district just before midnight on Monday.
Rome's fire chief says the fire, believed to have started in the middle of the mobile home, separated the parents and their one-year-old son from the three older siblings. Chief Ron Brement says parents Gabrielle and Patrick Croad left the home through a door near their bedroom, and tried to re-enter through a door closer to the older children's rooms, but were pushed back and burned by the flames.
Two-year-old Temprince, three-year-old Patrick III and four-year-old Eliesse Croad died in the fire.
"Right now, it appears that two of them were in their beds. The third one, we can't quite tell, based on how much damage there is to the area," said Fire Chief Ron Brement.
Chief Brement says the fire got quite the jump on firefighters, because mobile homes tend to be built of more lightweight materials, consumed more quickly by fire.
"The average time on a mobile home is probably six to ten minutes for total consumption," said Brement. "I want to say I think it was about a nine minute response from where we come, because city of Rome is a very large area."
Park residents on Tuesday stared at the home, remembering the last time they saw their young neighbors, not realizing at the time that it would be the very last time.
"Just seen them yesterday, just seen the little girl yesterday with the mother on my way out. Just seen little Temprince. And next thing you know, you hear them screaming, and this," said neighbor, Lorenzo Williams, recalling a later, more frantic encounter with the child's parents less than 24 hours later. "I seen Patrick when I first came over. patrick was running around. I said, can we get in? Any way we can get in? He says, no, I tried. He's all burnt up."
State and local fire investigators were on the scene throughout the day on Tuesday. The chief says parents, Patrick Croad and Gabrielle Croad and one-year-old Kaydence are recovering well at Upstate Medical Center, in Syracuse, from their injuries. No official determination on the fire's cause. Twenty eight Rome firefighters fought the fire, 12 of whom were called in from off duty.
A family member has created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the Croad family. To make a donation, click here.