Authorities have identified three people who died in a Decatur Street house fire early today, authorities said.
Mother Nordalie Douglas, 32, and her two daughters, 10-year-old Zakoya Bankston and 6-year-old Mackayla Gulley, died after Columbus Fire & EMS firefighters pulled them from their 3221 Decatur Street home around 12:40 a.m., authorities said.
“They had to force entry,” Shore said of firefighters. “There were burglar bars on the home.”
A neighbor said the mother and her two daughters moved to the Decatur Street home from North Carolina a few months ago.
The cause of the fire hasn’t yet been determined, Shores said.
The fire marshal said a passerby saw the flames and called 911 at 12:35 a.m. Damion Scott, who lives doors down on 33rd Avenue, arrived home from work around that time and saw his uncle on the front porch of his house calling 911.
Scott’s uncle told him the Decatur Street home was on fire, and Scott ran to the house and started knocking on the door.
“I’m trying to get someone to come to the door,” Scott said. “No one would come to the door. The whole house was just filled with smoke. Smoke was coming out all the vents. That smoke got to me.”
Scott ran to the side and back of the home, trying to get someone’s attention. He knew someone must be inside, because a blue minivan was parked under the carport, but he couldn’t get anyone to answer his calls.
By the time Scott returned to the front of the house, he saw the flames coming through the roof of the one-story brick home.
Firefighters arrived moments later. They broke inside the house, now heavily involved with fire, and pulled the three unconscious people out, Shores said.
Scott saw one firefighter run from the house with the younger girl in his arms. He went to a waiting ambulance. Then another firefighter ran from the home with the older girl.
“He was running across the yard and he fell as he came across the yard,” Scott said. “I went over and helped him up. I moved out of the way. He brought her over to the ambulance.
“It was rough,” Scott said. “I can still see it.”
The ambulance left for the hospital. By then, the mother of the girls was receiving CPR in her front yard, Scott said.
All three died this morning, Coroner Bill Thrower said.
Shores said the fire was mainly in the home’s attic, though some flames were inside the home. It took firefighters about 10 minutes to control the blaze.
“It suffered significant fire damage,” he added. “The roof is still up, the walls are still standing but the attic suffered serious damage.”
Yellow caution tape stretches across the home’s front this morning. Windows are boarded up and trash and mattresses are in the front yard.
The blue minivan, its front facing toward the street, still sits under the carport.