BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A 23-year-old mother and her three-year-old child have died, after a fire in Buffalo that destroyed their home and caused damage to two neighboring houses. Mother Lequeisha Watkins and her son were both transported from the fire to area hospitals, where they died from their injuries.
Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the blaze on Timon Street.
>> Shortly after the fire, another massive blaze erupted across the city on Forest Avenue.
When Buffalo firefighters first arrived, there were reports of people trapped inside. Neighbor Gloria Molet couldn't believe what she was seeing and hearing.
"I kept hearing, 'My baby! My baby!' They kept saying children. I was like Lord, don't let nobody be in there," Molet said.
As the inferno raged, crews went in through the back of the home.
Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said, "They were able to push in and find the mother and a 3-year-old in the back bedroom and extricate them."
Whitfield says the 23-year-old mother and child suffered burns and smoke inhalation. The mother later died at ECMC.
Reports of Watkins running back inside to save her child have not been verified at this time. Fire marshals are investigating.
The woman's fiance and another child were able to escape the flames.
Neighbors watched with disbelief as the fire ripped through the house, which eventually collapsed. The stubborn fire spread to two neighboring homes, one of which was vacant. The other was being renovated by owner Joe Hyla. He says he talked with the people who were living in the upper unit of the house that initially started the fire.
"They heard a boom upstairs," Hyla said. "And then they saw smoke and he just took off with his kids."
At this time, Whitfield says the fire does not appear suspicious.
"But you never know," he added. "They're going to investigate that possibility. That's always part of their investigation."
It took fire crews around three hours to extinguish the blaze, which touched off around 12:25 a.m.
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