Three teenagers and an adult were killed, and seven people were injured in a Sunday night house fire in Collierville.
The fire began in a two-story home, said Mark King, Collierville’s chief of administration. When firefighters arrived, the house was engulfed in flames and a man who lived in the home and a neighbor were trying to rescue people trapped inside, King said.
King said the family that lives in the home was hosting for Christmas three teenagers whose missionary parents were in India. The teens, ages 14, 15 and 17, were killed. Also killed was a 46-year-old woman, identified as Kari Coudriet. King described her as the mother of the house.
The fire’s cause is under investigation.
The parents of the children who were staying in the house were in the process of returning from their mission Monday, King said. They belong to Collierville Bible Church, which released identities Monday.
Coudriet’s husband, Danny, and their 13-year-old son, Cole, were hospitalized with smoke inhalation, King and church officials said. One police officer and the neighbor were also taken to hospitals with smoke inhalation. Three firefighters suffered burns on their faces. They were all expected to recover from their injuries, King said.
As the fire raged, the father of the house crashed through a second story window, fell to the ground and began yelling for help, King said. The father and a neighbor, a local football coach, tried to go up to the second story with a ladder to attempt a rescue, King said.
“It was so hot, and smoke was billowing,” King said.
The surviving teen jumped out of a window and the neighbor caught him, King said.
Collierville is a town of about 50,000 people, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of downtown Memphis.
“We’re a close-knit community,” King said. “The family is a wonderful family. It’s just hard for everybody.”