A pair of plastic binoculars and playground equipment are some of the only things remaining after a fire broke out overnight Wednesday, killing a mother and four children.
Larry Rains lives in the neighborhood south of Sherrard.
“Kids I just saw running around a day or so ago,” said Rains.
He was just at the now destroyed home the other day for a child’s birthday party.
“I’ve seen some things in my life, but nothing kind of hits like this,” he said.
Smoke filled the night sky just hours before daylight as firefighters converged on the mobile home, which was up in flames.
According to the Mercer County Coroner, Ron McNall, the fire broke out in the middle of a child’s sleepover party.
Of the four children who died, the oldest was only 15-years-old.
The adult was a wife and mother, according to McNall.
A man in the home escaped with burns, along with his two sons.
Larry says he was close with the family.
“My youngest son took the morning off to explain to his daughter why she won’t be seeing her friend anymore. How do you explain to a five year old? I don’t know.”
Neighbors have been speculating as to what caused the fire, with one even saying he thought it was a wood burning stove accident.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate to determine an exact cause.