TUCKER, Ga. — A mother and her two daughters died in a house fire Tuesday night, just north of the city of Tucker, in Georgia.
Gwinnett County firefighters responded to the 1000 block of Pointer Ridge at about 8:30 p.m. and found Brent Patterson in the front yard screaming that his wife and daughters were trapped upstairs.
WGCL reportsthe fire was so intense, firefighters were forced to fight it from the outside. Once it was safe enough to enter, firefighters found the bodies of the Kathy Patterson and her two children, Kayla, 11, and Madelyn, 9.
Neighbors heard sirens and ran outside. Robert Vazquez said he saw the flames, and then he saw the father outside. He had dropped to the ground.
“He was yelling and screaming, saying his wife and two daughters were in there,” said Vazquez.
“This was his life,” said another neighbor. “His wife is gone. His daughters are gone. His home is gone. He doesn’t have any family in the area.”
Brent Patterson told firefighters that he and his family had been upstairs Tuesday night getting ready for bed. They heard a popping sound, and he went downstairs to investigate, firefighters said.
When he realized his house was on fire, he tried to go back upstairs to bring his wife and daughters to safety, but he couldn’t get to them.
The family reportedly had a fire burning in the fireplace at the time the fire erupted in the house. It is unknown at this point whether the fire in the fireplace was a contributing factor.
Brent Patterson was injured but declined to go to the hospital, firefighters and neighbors said.
Authorities say it’s a tragic reminder to make sure your smoke detectors are working properly and to make sure your family has an escape plan in case of an emergency.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims during this difficult time. This a tragic incident and serves as a reminder of the importance of following proper fire prevention and safety tips at home. Install working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in the hallway outside the sleeping area and in each of the bedrooms. Develop a home fire escape plan and practice fire drills with the entire family. Check for and eliminate home hazards that could cause a fire to start. Keep a portable fire extinguisher close at hand to douse small fires,” said Firefighter Captain Tommy Rutledge in a news release.
The bodies of all three victims have been turned over to the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office. The ME will determine positive identification and cause of death.
According to fire Investigators, the exact cause of the fire is currently undetermined and is under active investigation by the fire department.