5 Children, Adult Die In Ark. Fire

Arkansas County fire and police officials stand watch near a burned mobile home late Wednesday, April 20, 2005, in Humphrey, Ark. At least six people died in the fire, including five children. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) AP

Flames roared through a mobile home, killing five young boys and the mother of two of the youngsters, authorities said. No one escaped.

Investigators did not know how the blaze began Wednesday evening. A neighbor said he heard two explosions. State police spent much of Thursday morning going through the home's electrical junction box.

Flames had already engulfed the mobile home when firefighters arrived, and little of it was left beyond structural supports surrounded by corrugated-metal skirts. Furnishings were burned or charred beyond recognition. Scattered in the yard were toy trucks and books including one called "Brave Little Bunny."

As the investigators worked Thursday, the parents of two of the victims 3-year-old Wesley Whiteside and 23-month-old Steven Whiteside walked up to a police barrier to look at what remained of the trailer, which sat on a lot in a neighborhood of small, one-story frame houses.

A police officer hugged John Whiteside. Rachel Whiteside, a few steps back, screamed "Oh, my babies! My babies are gone!"

She told KTHV-TV of Little Rock that the flames broke out about 10 minutes after she had dropped the boys off for a playdate, and that she and her husband had watched the mobile home burn with their children inside.

"If there are any young parents out there, love every minute, every second with your child," she said. "Tell them every day that you love them, because in seconds, they are gone, just like that."

Even before the bodies were officially identified, John Whiteside knew that his sons were dead. "I don't need DNA. My heart will tell me which baby is mine," he told the Democrat-Gazette.

The owner of the trailer was the "neighborhood mother" who frequently watched children at her home, Rachel Whiteside said.

Also killed were Amanda Clemons, 23, and her sons Dakota, 4, and Edison Ray, 3, as well as Aiden Joe Richter, 8 months.

Roy Bronson, who lives four doors down, said he felt two explosions and reached the burning home before firefighters but couldn't work through the heat to reach the victims.

"I heard them screaming. She talked to me, she said 'Please help me.' I said 'Amanda, get down and crawl.' She said 'I can't. The fire has got me,'" said Bronson, a former firefighter.

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