(02/26/14) - A heartbreaking story out of Flint Township - a mother is dead, her boyfriend and two young children are badly injured following an overnight house fire.
A family member and the Flint Township Fire Department identified the woman who died as 29-year-old Tiffany Dorman and the survivors as 24-year-old Charles Hughes, 11-year-old Nicholas Terstegge and 2-year-old Abel Hughes.
The home they lived in, now a total loss, is in the 1100 block of Lask Drive, back off Beecher Road.
Michigan State Police fire investigator Specialist Sergeant Lenny Jaskulka spent hours at the scene Wednesday. He classified the cause, at this point, as "careless discard of smoking materials" in the garage.
Jaskula says an autopsy will be done to determine how exactly the woman died.
Diana Hughes, Charles' aunt, who lives nearby, says he was at work and got a phone call around 1:30 a.m. He couldn't hear talking - only smoke detectors going off.
"He raced back over here. The house was in flames and he had to go through the window to get the boys out," Diana said.
Diana says Charles did what he could do to try and rescue the three, but couldn't reach Tiffany.
"Went through the window and was handing the boys out the windows to friends," she said.
Diana says, at last check, Charles and the two children were in critical condition. She says Charles is Abel's father and Tiffany is both of the boys' mother.
The fire was so bad that when firefighters arrived, "Our guys tried to climb in the window, but we had so much fire coming in there, we felt it was unsafe to go in there," said Flint Township Fire Chief John Ringwelski.
Adding to the already chaotic scene, the cold weather impacted gear and Ringwelski says there are no fire hydrants nearby, so they had to draw water from about 1/2 a mile out on Beecher Road. He says they were able to maintain a water supply the entire time.
"Would that have made a difference? I don't know. That's what's sad," Diana said.
Diana says the family had moved from Florida in July for work and to be closer to relatives.
This is the second deadly fire in just two days in Genesee County, the third this month. A woman was killed each time.
Jaskulka says he's also looking into what caused a Monday fire in Grand Blanc, where 79-year-old Lois Edwards died. He'll be back there Thursday.
Fire investigators are also still narrowing down the cause of a third deadly fire in Genesee County this month.
Forty-one year old Monica Elkins died, Feb. 9, when her house caught fire in the 1200 block of Wells in Burton.
A neighbor tried to save her, but the heat was too intense. It took crews about an hour to put the fire out. Burton Police say they're still waiting on reports to determine a cause.
ABC12 Main Station