Family, neighbors mourn 2 home-alone brothers killed in fire

Family, neighbors mourn 2 young home-alone brothers killed in house fire

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A make-shift memorial has been set up in front of the burned home A make-shift memorial has been set up in front of the burned home
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  • 2 young boys left home alone die in house fire on Detroit's west side

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    Friday, December 6 2013 8:38 PM EST2013-12-07 01:38:38 GMT
    Two brothers, aged one and four years old, are dead following a house fire on Prairie Street on Detroit's west side. Police say the boys were home alone at the time the fire started.
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(WJBK) -

"For this to happen, you're just lost. You don't know what to say, what to do," says Cornelle Grant, grandfather to the two young brothers who died after a house fire on Prairie Street on Detroit's west side.

He stood at a make-shift memorial in front of the burned home Friday evening. His two grandsons were one and four years old.

"It's really hard when you lose someone," he says. "They were great little boys, you know?"

The fire happened just before 1 p.m. Friday. A firefighter rescued the boys from a bedroom on the second floor. Both boys were rushed to separate hospitals where they were later pronounced dead.

Delitta Byrd, a neighbor, says the older boy often played with her children.

"He was a good little boy, used to come down here ride his bike. They would play in our backyard and in the garage," she tells Fox 2's Randy Wimbley.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch Wimbley's report

The boys were home alone when the fire began. Their dad had stepped out to borrow a few cigarettes from a neighbor.

"That's all it takes is a minute. All it takes is a minute. ... We gotta watch our kids close, especially when you got kids that little," neighbor Tamika Garner says.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"I saw two guys standing in front of the house and they threw something into the window," an unidentified witness tells Wimbley. "When I came back I saw the house was into flames."

"All things are open right now and certainly we do know there was a space heater on the lower level, which could have been the origin of fire. Now we have a witness suggesting that maybe something was thrown in the house. That has not been determined," says Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

But a chief investigator with the fire department suggested evidence inside the house may back up the witness's claims.

"I see a fast, accelerating fire, a lot of damage within that time, so it's something we'll have to look at real closely," Eldon Parham told us.

In the meantime Cornell Grant is trying to make sense why his grandchildren were left to fend for themselves.

"They should have never been left here."

Wimbley reports the father has been questioned by police, and the mother was arrested yesterday and is currently still in jail.

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