||Neighbors react to early morning fire
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) — A Columbus community is mourning the loss of an 11-year-old girl.
She was killed Wednesday in an early morning apartment fire.
"Help me, help me! Please somebody get me out of this apartment. Help me, help me!"
Those were the last words Cylyne Coley heard her 11-year old neighbor, Oronanjula Shanklin, say before she was killed in an early morning fire.
Coley said the child was trapped in the upper part of her apartment.
She could see her through the window, and said the girl was screaming, begging for someone to save her.
"I never thought that I'd experience something like this, hands on, right there in my face, feeling the heat," Coley said. "You just never thought that would happen to somebody over here."
Fire crews were sent to the Jamestown Square complex around two a.m. Wednesday.
The fire not only killed that 11-year-old, but also injured four other people.
The county's coroner said Shanklin was the grand niece of Columbus' mayor Robert Smith.
Coley said she didn't know her personally, but would see her every morning at the bus stop.
"Couldn't nobody get her out there the apartment was just ridiculous," Coley said.
The Columbus Fire Department and the state fire marshal's office worked throughout the afternoon to determine the cause of the fire.
"Anytime you lose a life, especially a child, in a fire, it's devastating to the family," Columbus Fire Department Assistant Chief Mark Ward said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to them."
Coley sends her prayers, too.
She'll never forget this fire, or the girl she saw every morning at the bus stop.
"To just go up there and just know that a face is missing, and that you'll never forget that tragic event that happened to her out of your head. It's sad."