Authorities have identified the two children who died in a duplex fire at Bonny Oaks around 3 p.m. Monday despite the valiant efforts of two firefighters to save them.
Authorities said the mother, Alfreda Bennett, had left the small children - Olivia Bennet, seven months, and Michael White, 3 - with an autistic nine-year-old boy.
They said the woman was in a nearby apartment. The man she allegedly was with was interviewed by investigators outside the burning duplex.
Neighbors said the boy went next door for help, but the duplex fire was raging out of control by then. A neighbor said he tried to get inside, but could not because of the smoke and flames.
However, Firefighter Joshua Burchard did suffer injuries when he rushed inside and brought out the baby. Other firefighters had to douse the flames on his protective suit when he emerged from the blaze. Firefighter Darin Honeycutt carried out the boy.
County Commissioner Greg Beck said he saw flames shooting from the duplex on Bonny Oaks Drive located across from a bakery near the county's Bonny Oaks Industrial Park.
He said he saw firefighters rush into the duplex and come back out carrying two very badly burned children.
Commissioner Beck said, "The firefighters made a heroic effort to go in and save the children. The firefighters were overcome by the smoke in doing so.
"Unfortunately, they were too badly burned to be saved."
He said Fire Chief Randy Parker told him that one child was dead at the scene and the second died after being taken to Children's Hospital.
Commissioner Beck said the mother of the children then appeared from behind the duplex. "She appeared to be stunned," he said.
Video below shows the mother coming up on the scene.