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Dad Rescues Daughter From House Fire, Dies When He Goes Back Inside For Another Child


A father of three was killed Friday morning after rescuing his eight-year-old daughter from a horrific house fire and going back inside for another child, authorities said.

Demetrius Johnson, 24, died inside the massive blaze in Buffalo, New York, as did his 49-year-old uncle who lived on the top floor of the three-story house, family members told WIVB-TV.

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All three children were injured in the inferno that erupted at about 4 a.m., Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield told INSIDE EDITION.

Treasure, the eight-year-old, is fighting for her life with burns over 90 percent of her body. She was transferred to the burn unit at Shriners Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, officials said.

Demetrius Jr., 3, and one-year-old Demaris were taken to Women and Children's Hospital in Buffalo. Demetrius Jr. is being treated for smoke inhalation and is in intensive care. The youngest child is said to be in good condition, the station reported.

The cause of the fire is undetermined. Whitfield said the structure is extremely unstable and will have to be dismantled piece by piece.

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It was unclear if the home had smoke alarms, he said. The mother was able to rescue the youngest child, while the father searched for Treasure. He carried the child out and handed her to the mother and went back inside for the three-year-old,, Whitfield said.

By then, firefighters had arrived, he said, and were able to find the boy and carry him to safety. But the flames grew so intense, rescue operations had to be temporarily suspended, Whitfield said. 

When firefighters were able to get back inside, they found the father's body on the first floor and the other victim's body in an upstairs bedroom.

Neighbors told the station that the family of five had just moved into the first floor of the home.

The mother, Tempest Thomas, told WGRZ-TV that the family was asleep when the fire started. "He got me and my baby out," she said, and then grabbed their daughter.

"He went back in for his three-year-old son and never came back out," she said, weeping.

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