14-year-old dies following Phoenix apartment fire

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm •  Published: March 23, 2014
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PHOENIX (AP) — A 14-year-old girl is dead and her mother and three siblings are in critical condition following a Sunday morning apartment fire in west Phoenix.

Firefighters responded at 12:45 a.m. to a report of a blaze in a second floor unit of an apartment building, fire department Capt. Jonathan Jacobs said. They battled heavy smoke to quickly put out the fire and found the victims.

Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said a firefighter kicked open a bedroom door and found the family.

"What he found was five family members — a 33-year-old mother and her four children — inside of that bedroom. All of them were unconscious," Holmes told The Associated Press.

Holmes said the mother and a 10-year-old are hospitalized in critical condition, and a 3-year-old and a 3-month old are extremely critical but stable.

The fire may have been intentionally set, and could be related to a case of domestic violence, Holmes said. A person of interest has been detained, he said.

Nearly 30 other people who live in the building were displaced because of electrical damage and other problems.

Among them is Jennifer Sheppard, who lives with her four children in a two-bedroom unit below the victims, who lived on the second floor. Sheppard said she is thankful a neighbor knocked on her door, waking up her 14-year-old son.