Family, friends mourn twin boys killed in North Braddock house fire
Family members grieved on Saturday for twin toddlers who died in a fast-moving fire that consumed their North Braddock home.
“They came into this world together, and they left together. They brought a lot of joy to the family. It's very devastating,” said Mary Hoye of Wilkinsburg, the twins' paternal grandmother.
The boys' mother, Dalawna Berran-Lett, 32, “was very hysterical,” Hoye said.
The twins' deaths on Friday are the latest to result from fires that claimed the lives of children.
“The way to prevent this is education — education of both kids and of parents,” said Darryl Jones, fire chief in Pittsburgh and, before that, a longtime Aliquippa firefighter who saw three children die in a house fire in 1987 and five children and an adult die in another fire in 1991.
Firefighters discovered the bodies of 3-year-old twins Kyier and Dyier Arthur in the ruins of their home at Rebecca Avenue and 13th Street in North Braddock.
The boys died from smoke inhalation, burns and carbon monoxide poisoning, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said Saturday.
The twins' mother, Berran-Lett, 32, apparently left the boys alone, according to friends and family members. She was being interviewed by the Allegheny County Police along with witnesses to the fire, said Alvin Henderson, chief of Allegheny County‘s Department of Emergency Services.
She is being housed by the Red Cross in a hotel, her relatives said.
Henderson said the fire's cause will not be determined until at least Monday or Tuesday.
Georgia Berran, Berran-Lett's mother, said she has not spoken with her daughter since the fire.
“I was their grandmother. They called me ‘Nana.' They were identical. They did everything together. Everybody loved them. It is a big loss,” Berran said.
In Pittsburgh, public and Catholic schools participate each year in Risk Watch, a safety program developed by the National Fire Protection Association for students from kindergarten through sixth grade, Jones said.
The chief would like to expand the program.
“These twins were not in school. So we hope to target kids who are younger, like them, through churches and community centers,” Jones said.
In October, two children died and an adult was injured in a Greenfield fire that started when one child was playing with a lighter.
In February, a 6-year-old boy playing with a lighter started a fire in Friendship that killed two adults.
In December 2011, a child started a fire in Nolan Court in Homewood that left a mother and three children dead.
In 2007, children playing with matches sparked a fast-moving fire that killed five youngsters in Larimer. The children — all 8 and younger — were left at home alone.
“It does not take much to have an accident. Kids are curious. They do things. They are kids. Some of what people need to remember is as simple as keeping things out of reach,” said Jones.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.