‘He's a hero': Father dies after rescuing 5 children from house fire

Fire investigators in Clayton County, Ga., are trying to determine how a fatal house fire started early Thursday morning. A man was killed after rescuing his family from the flames.

A Georgia father was killed in a house fire early Thursday after rescuing his five children from the flames, officials said.

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Neighbors called for help just after 2:15 a.m., reporting a fire at a home in Clayton County, Forest Park fire Deputy Chief Matt Jackson said.

They described a chaotic scene.

“I heard glass breaking and I thought somebody was breaking in next door,” Jacob Stewart said. “... I heard screaming from a grown man and children.”


John Tumlin, another neighbor, saw the father “handing the kids out the window.”

He said he wanted to help, but the blaze “was too hot.”

By the time firefighters arrived, which was within minutes of the initial call, there was "heavy involvement to the front of the structure," Jackson said.

The five children and the man’s wife were outside, according to officials. The children, who are between 6 and 13 years old, were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center with cuts and scrapes. They were released from the hospital later Thursday.

The wife was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation. Stewart said she was distraught.

“They’re good kids,” Stewart said. “Never had any problems out of those people.”

The fire appears to have started in the living room, according to officials. Investigators are working to determine the exact cause and origin of the blaze, Jackson said.

In the meantime, neighbors are praising the father’s rescue efforts.

"God bless him," Tumlin said. "He's a hero."