Tuesday August 9th, 2022 7:37AM

Macon fire claims lives of mother, 3 children

By The Associated Press
MACON, Ga. (AP) An early-morning fire swept through a duplex in Macon, killing a mother and three of her girls on Thursday.

Fire officials say the blaze was reported shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday on Carmen Place in the central Georgia city. The first firefighters to arrive were able to rescue a man and two teenage boys, The Telegraph of Macon reported.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says fire crews found multiple bodies while fighting the flames.

Jones identified the victims as 36-year-old Jennifer Caffee; 10-year-old Wendy Chapman, who had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair; 13-year-old Elizabeth Caffee and 5-year-old Holly Tucker.

A 38-year-old man and two teenage boys were taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia, authorities said.

Doctors were preparing to transfer the man from the Macon hospital to a burn unit in Augusta, Jones said. The boys, ages 15 and 17, were both being treated in the Macon hospital's emergency room, he said.

The blaze apparently started in the attic, but the cause was unknown, Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins told WMAZ-TV.

Teresa Walker said she awoke to the smoke in another unit of the duplex, but the flames were outside her door and she couldn't get out.

"I walked through the whole apartment, trying to get out," said Walker, who is on crutches after her right leg was amputated below the knee last year.

Flames higher than her head where flaring up at both doors.

"I couldn't get out the front or the back, so I had to dive out the window with one leg," Walker told the Macon newspaper.

Residents say there was no way to rescue the victims in the corner unit, where the bodies were found.

Firefighters were able to recover the first body by 3:50 a.m. Thursday, but flames were still flaring up through the attic. It was after 5 a.m. before the brick building had cooled enough that it was safe for firefighters to remove the other three.

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