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Fatal Keys Fire Serves As Tragic Lesson

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Days after a flash fire tore through a home in the Keys, killing a mother and her two younger children, the 911 call from the mother's eldest daughter has been released, which a fire marshal hopes will serve as a tragic lesson for all.

In the early Sunday dark, 19-year-old Courtney Shores called 911 as a fire consumed the upper floor of the family's frame home in Ramrod Key.

"Is anybody in the house?" the dispatcher asks. Shores responds, "Yes there are two children and my mother!"

Shores mother, Robin Ferrer, her 7-year-old half-brother Roman and half-sister Hazel were trapped upstairs.

The 911 operator is heard on the call desperately inquiring of possible solutions to get the three family members out.

"There's no ladder or anything they can jump down to?" the operator asks. "No they're locked in, they're locked inside." Shores goes on to tell the operator, who asks if she sees flames, that the entire house was on fire and that she can indeed see flames.

The fire started on the upstairs porch of the home and spread rapidly in the home. Only one door in and out was blocked by a wall of flames.

"They're trapped. There's only one way out and it's on fire!" Shores said.

Jacob Shores, Ferrer's 18-year-old son, suffered serious burns attempting to scale the stairs but could not get through the fire to his mother and half-siblings.

In the end, the mournful screams of the daughter who called 911 for help pierced the night, knowing her mother and the other children had perished.

The take away from this tragic lesson is to have a backup plan. Monroe County Fire Marshal Capt. Jim Leonard told CBS4's Gary Nelson that every family should have an emergency alternative if the door—or doors—to your home are blocked by fire; identify windows you can jump through—even from an upper floor. The captain said it's better to break an ankle or leg in the fall, than to lose your life in a fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation and as of yet foul play has not been ruled out.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to raise money for Jacob and Courtney for funeral, medical and living expenses.


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