Four children, ranging in age from 8 months to 9 years old, were killed in a house fire in Conyers late Tuesday night.
Investigators have determined the fire started in the second-floor bathroom and hallway area of the two-story duplex on Pinedale Circle.
Neighbor Lamonta Stroud, 18, tried to save them, but he said the fire was too intense.
"I really wasn't focused on that. I was just trying to get the kids. My brother is the one who pulled me down. He didn't want me going in there," Stroud said.
The children's mother, Reeba Glass, suffered second- and third-degree burns on 40 percent of her body as she tried to save her children, said authorities.
"She was able to save one of the children," said Maj. Mike Waters of the Conyers Police Department. "Witnesses advised that she actually threw that child from a second-story window."
"She loves her kids," said Cynnethia Wright, a cousin. "If she could have saved the rest of them, I believe she probably would. She would lay her life on the line for her kids."
Glass's son Darnell, 6, was hospitalized with a shoulder injury, but later released, Waters said.
Darnell is currently recovering at home with his grandmother. He turned 6 on Wednesday.
The initial call to 911 came at 11:05 p.m., Waters said. Four officers from a nearby police precinct were on the scene within 30 seconds.
"They found that the home was fully involved upstairs, and they could hear noises coming from up there," Waters said. "They tried to use a fire extinguisher, and it didn't phase the fire at all."
After knocking down the flames from the outside, firefighters finally were able to enter the duplex.
They found three boys and a girl deceased, including Ah'Dariya Glass, 9, Dar'Shawn Glass, 7, Armoni Roberts, 3, and Deon Glass, 8 months.
The children's grandmother, Rosetta Mitchell, was in the home at the time of the fire. She was not hurt.
"I'm devastated," said neighbor Leslie Slater. "They're like my children. They come to my house every day all day. They're my daughter's best friend."
"You know, you go through a shock, and it really hasn't worn off," said neighbor Jan Dennis. "When you think about losing children, that's really bad."
"It just makes my heart drop," said neighbor Tiffany Tillmon, who said she was at the side of Darnell as paramedics tended to his injury. "When he left on the stretcher going out, he was saying bye to everybody. He was like, 'I'll see y'all later.' He wasn't crying, but he doesn't know yet what happened."
The official cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is still under investigation.
Tillmon said Darnell gave police a theory about how the fire might have started. He blamed the father of one of his younger brothers.
"He was just telling them that he was knocking on his door that night and his mom wouldn't come outside," Tillmon said. "So his dad got mad and went around the back and threw something through the back window. That's what he thinks caused the fire."
Investigators have taken samples from multiple locations inside the home trying to find the cause.
A representative with Levett & Sons Funeral Home in Conyers has offered to handle the funeral arrangements for the family at no cost. A memorial service for the children will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 at Springfield Baptist Church in Conyers.
A Glass Family Memorial Fund has been set up with Wells Fargo, Account No. 1009683226.
Pastor Billie Cox of Macedonia Baptist Church in Conyers also is working to help coordinate support and donations to the family from the public.
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