Family remembers the 3 lives lost in Milan trailer fire: ‘I lost it, I dropped to my knees I couldn’t breathe’

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MILAN, Illinois – An investigation is underway after three people died in an early morning fire at Airview Mobile Home Park around 4:30a.m.

Investigators say the home was fully engulfed when crews arrived on scene with no chance to save the three people stuck inside.

“It was a nice home,” says relative, Stephanie Kemp. “It was opening to everybody.”

It’s a place Kemp remember fondly, but when she was met with the burnt down home this morning she was in disbelief.

“I lost it,” Kemp remembers. “I dropped to my knees I couldn’t breathe.”

Breathless after a fire quickly spread throughout the mobile home that belonged to three of her relatives – taking their lives.

“They were trapped, they were stuck, the fire was by the front door, I don’t know if there was an alarm or not,” Kemp explains.

When Kemp received a call around 9 a.m., she learned she lost her stepsister, her nephew and her stepsister’s grandmother.

“Brittany was stubborn, but she was great, I enjoyed every moment being with her,” Kemp looks back. “My nephew was a ball of joy.  He was just full of laugh and play.”

“And Delores was open arms to everybody,” Kemp recalls. “The whole neighborhood came to the house.  All the kids – she had three refrigerators for a reason – and a cabinet full of food.”

“This part of the trailer was my sister’s room,” motions Kemp. “That’s where her and my nephew were.”

And as Brittany went to bed last night, that would be the last Stephanie would hear from her.

“We talked 13 hours ago, and she said she was laying down for bed,” Kemp says. “She didn’t see my last message.”

Now, more than anything, she wishes she sent a different message.

“I love you, I just want to hold them and hug them one more time,” Kemp comments.

On Monday, February 4, Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson said all three victims died of smoke inhalation.

The following departments responded to the scene: Blackhawk Fire Department, Rock Sheriff’s Dept., Milan Police Dept., Coyne Center Fire Dept., Coal Valley Fire Dept., Moline 2nd Alarmers, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Unit, Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Rock Island County Coroner.

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