Two brothers eager to open their gifts on Christmas morning died in a massive house fire, which forced their mother to jump from an upstairs window with a 2-year-old child in her arms.
De’Lon Wheeler, 7, and 6-year-old Damarion Wheeler “fell asleep by the tree because they were so excited about getting up,” their mother, Demika Pinson, told the Detroit News. Both were killed as the morning blaze ripped through their two-story home on Friday.
Three of the boys’ other siblings, who slept on the second floor per their mother’s request, made it out of the house alive. An 8-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were treated for second-degree burns and smoke inhalation, respectively.
By the time firefighters arrived at the residence just before 9 a.m., Pinson had already leapt from a window with her fifth child, a 2-year-old girl, wrapped in her arms. Both were hospitalized as a precaution, though neither appeared to suffer any serious injuries.
The mother said she woke up feeling dizzy Christmas morning and immediately knew something was amiss. She grabbed her daughter and then called out for her other children to flee.
“It’s unbelievable this is something to wake up to on Christmas,” Pinson said. “It’s just tragic.”
What exactly sparked the fire remained unclear and authorities continued to investigate on Saturday. They believe it was accidental.
“It could have been electrical, Christmas tree or kids playing with matches, but it’s not suspicious,” said Deputy Fire Commissioner Dave Fornell.
Pinson also has a 6-month-old child, who was not at home when the fire broke out.