- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 21, 2009

ST. PARIS, OHIO (AP) - A fire at a mobile home killed four young children before dawn Saturday, but two adult relatives escaped through a window with a baby before running to neighbors for help, screaming, “My kids are burning!”

Toby Fox was at his kitchen table with friends when Phillip Skaggs Jr., the father of one of the children who perished, yanked open the front door.

“He just kept yelling, ‘They’re burning. My kids are burning. Please hurry,’” Fox said.

Another neighbor, Kala Johnson, said she and two others tried to break a window of Skaggs’ home to rescue the children. Neighbor Michele McGowen said no cries for help could be heard coming from inside the home.

Firefighters responded at about 3 a.m. to the blaze in a mobile home park in St. Paris, about 75 miles west of Columbus, state fire marshals spokesman Shane Cartmill said.

The victims were 2-year-old Nathan Skaggs, 8-year-old Patrick Snelling, 10-year-old Breonna Snelling and 10-year-old Cassandra Karg, the Champaign County sheriff’s office said.

Phillip Skaggs Jr. and Christina Gregg, both 33, and Natalia Skaggs, 8 months, were treated at a hospital for minor injuries and were released.

The couple are the parents of both Skaggs children, and Gregg is the mother of the two Snelling children, Sheriff Brent Emmons said. Phillip Skaggs Jr. is Karg’s uncle, he said.

The mobile home had electrical problems, shocking people who touched parts of it, said Scott Randall, who lives nearby in the mobile home park.

An electrical malfunction hadn’t been ruled out as a cause of the fire, and an electrical engineer would examine the home on Monday, Cartmill said. The home had a fire detector that wasn’t functioning, he said.

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