Two children dead in fast-moving North Braddock house fire
By Michael Hasch
Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 5:04 p.m.
Ronald Reed was shopping on Friday afternoon when he got a call from a woman who was screaming, “Oh, my God, Ron! My house is on fire! My kids are inside!”
The bodies of two children — identified by Reed and their godfather as 3-year-old twins Kyier and Dyier Arthur — were found in the smoldering ruins of their home at Rebecca Avenue and 13th Street in North Braddock, said Alvin Henderson, chief of Allegheny County's Department of Emergency Services.
Reed said the children had been left home alone, but Allegheny County homicide detectives would say only that they were interviewing the mother of the children, who was identified by Reed as Dalawna Berran-Lett, 32. No charges have been filed.
“A contractor who was working in the neighborhood saw the flames around 3:30 p.m., called 911 and began pounding on the doors (to alert the residents),” Henderson said. “The first 911 calls said flames could be seen inside the windows.”
Henderson described it as a “fast-evolving fire,” and Braddock police said the fire was too intense when the first officers arrived for them to attempt a rescue.
Firefighters did get inside but could not reach the children, Henderson said.
Reed, an East Hills resident who said Berran-Lett is the mother of his 12-year-old daughter, said he and his wife were buying groceries when he got the panicky phone call.
“She said, ‘I left the house for a second to look for my (15-year-old daughter).' She was very hysterical,” Reed said. “I said, ‘Why would you leave the kids unattended?' She said, ‘I was only gone a minute. Oh, Ron, my kids are gone!'”
The body of one child was found on the first floor, and the other was found on the second floor, Henderson said.
A Braddock firefighter was injured when a portion of the second floor gave way, Henderson said. He was treated in a hospital.
The fire spread to the neighboring home of a 90-year-old woman, who was carried to safety by another neighbor, Braddock police said.
Darran Miller of Wilkinsburg, who said he is the twins' godfather, said their father, Kalem Arthur, is his cousin.
“Honestly, I just feel like the whole world ended,” Miller said. “Their dad never had a chance to hold them or see them.”
Miller said Arthur is in prison, and Allegheny County Court records show that he is serving a sentence for firearms violations in the State Correctional Institution in Wayne County.
“It's such a tragedy, a sad incident. I'm really messed up about it,” said Reed, who described Kyier and Dyier as “good kids.”
“They were beautiful kids,” Miller said. “They were smart. I just want everyone to know how intelligent these kids were and how much they'll be missed.”
Michael Hasch is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-320-7820or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Meat prices drain barbecue budgets
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- NFL notebook: Pryor will be cut if he’s not traded
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- Pair of Braun homers spells defeat for Pirates
- One dead, one wounded in shooting at Chartiers party
- North Versailles, Murrysville families still waiting for report on 2011 chopper crash that killed couple
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success
- Biertempfel: Kendall’s book offers inside look at life in majors