Tifton fire victims identified

Tifton fire victims identified
Lee Dunston
Lee Dunston

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Many people slowly drove by the house Friday afternoon in Tifton where two 12 year-old twins were killed in a fire early Friday morning. Some who drove by even stopped to look at the damage.

One woman who stopped said she has known the boys' mother for years and came to the house as soon as she heard the news.

Yellow tape from the fire department surrounded the burnt out remains of the home at 604 Timmons Drive Friday afternoon.

The home was gutted by a fire that broke out inside around 1:30 a.m. 44 year-old Tangerla Walker, her 15 year-old daughter Florissa, and two 12 year-old twins, Jeremiah and Neamiah, were asleep inside.

Tangerla and her daughter made it out and pulled the twins to the front porch, but the boys didn't survive.

Betty Hendley lives near by and said she has known Tangerla almost all her life. "Every time I see her goin' to the school to see about her children, she was always walkin'. It's sad. We just need to be prayed up," said Hendley, as tears began to roll down her cheeks.

She didn't want to show her face because she had just gotten out of bed when she got a call from a friend about the fire and was still in her night gown when she came to the scene.

"I hope that her community and her neighbors will come together and support her in her loss and pray for her...that's why I come 'round here; to see where she's at, how I can communicate with her," Hendley said.

There was still a lot of work to be done as of Friday afternoon, including trying to figure out what, exactly, caused the fire. An arson investigator with the state fire marshal's office had been called in to help with the investigation, but as of Friday foul play was not suspected.

"Initially," explained Tifton Police Department Lt. Lee Dunston, "there was some people that made some assertions that they later recanted as far as whether or not they thought somebody might be responsible for the fire."

The house did not have smoke detectors.

Tifton Police Department investigators were working to interview witnesses Friday and planned to continue working with investigators from the State Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner's Office to make sure that there was no foul play involved.

Lt. Dunston also said that the Red Cross was called in to assist Tangerla and her daughter, but they were staying with family members as of Friday night.

The Tifton Police Department provided this news release-

On 01/23/2015 at approximately 0140 hours, officers from the Tifton Police Department as well as personnel from the Tifton-Tift County Fire Department and EMS were dispatched to 604 Timmons Drive in reference to a house fire. 

When they arrived, the house was “fully engulfed” by flames. Two boys, both age 12, died as a result of this fire. They had been pulled to the porch by their mother and sister, then away from the house by neighbors trying to assist.

The investigation is on-going and is a collaborative effort between the Tifton Police Department, the state Fire Marshall's Office, and the State Medical Examiner's Office.

At this point, foul play is not suspected in this fire.

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