Two children killed in Zephyrhills mobile home fire

Neighbors try to free them from home but fail

ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. - Pasco County Sheriff's deputies say two children were killed late Tuesday when fire broke out at a mobile home in Zephyrhills.

Four children were in the home  when at the time.  Two were able to get out, but  10-year-old Hunter Freeman and his 9-year-old sister Mackenze Freeman died in the fire.

Officials say the two youngsters were used  wheelchairs to get around and their physical disabilities may have hindered their ability to escape.  Neighbors said the two have cerebral palsy.

After the fire started, bystanders tried to get into the burning home to help the children.  Neighbor Mike Fall said he used a saw to try to cut away at the trailer. 

"I tried to cut a hole in the wall, but it was too late," said Fall.  "Flames were coming out of the house. Jimmy, the father, was trying to get in." 

But the fire was too intense, and no one was able to enter -- and stay inside -- the structure.  "It was a bad scene. Something I'll never get over," said Fall.

A number of those who tried to get in were treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns.

The children's mother and a man livng in the home were nearby at another residence when the fire broke out.  No charges are anticipated.

"They were always doing for those kids," said Troy Zupancic as he looked over the remains of the home in the light of day Wednesday.

"They might walk outside to do some yard work and Jimmy works here in the park. So he is right here. And all it is, it is a holler away."
 Despite being so close, no one was able to get to the trapped siblings, who were napping in a back bedroom

"It's just a shame," he said

 

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