Tragedy in Kathleen: Boy trapped in inferno does not make it out of family home

LAKELAND, Fla. - By the time the sun came up on Sheretz Roar this morning, there was a decidedly different feel along this normally tranquil tucked out of the way neighborhood.

"It was awful," said neighbor Lynn Springer.  "I was just crying and carrying on, because I thought they were all in the house."

Inside that small wood frame structure, seven people -- two adults and five children -- were asleep. By 6:15 Wednesday morning, the place was engulfed in flames.

"Although the possibility of a person inside still being alive was slim, our firefighters did make an attack on the fire and attempted a rescue," said Deputy Chief Mike Linkins of Polk County Fire Rescue.

At first they didn't find anyone, while a severely burned adult male -- who apparently went back for that trapped person -- was treated for burns before being transported to the Orlando Burn Center. Firefighters were also stymied by lack of close-by hydrants, but did the best they could as long lengths of line were laid.

"It took every bit of hose they had on the truck plus an additional 100 foot section from another truck  to complete that lay from the hydrant  to get water to extinguish the flames," explained the Linkins. In total, 1,100 feet were used.

It was only after the extra water was available that the flames were fully out and the body of a three-year-old was discovered inside a back room.  Friends and family members huddled close by, but did not want to speak on camera to us.

"And it's very tough," said Linkins. "So we actually have some counseling coming in for those firefighters who were significantly affected."

The Polk Sheriff's Office is now conducting a full death investigation , and will remain on the scene until they can sort out the details of the child who was unable to get out of the burning home.

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