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Burglars Bars Trapped Woman, 2 Kids Killed In Tampa Fire

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Authorities say an overloaded power strip likely caused a fire that killed a 61-year-old Tampa woman and two of her grandchildren.

The fire broke out before dawn on Tuesday and Tampa Fire Marshal Milt Jenkins says burglar bars that required a key from the inside trapped the family inside the burning home. There were no smoke detectors in the home.

Officials say 8-year-old Romello Jackson remains in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. His grandmother Sheryl James and 8-year-old Reshard Ashley and Emjay Jackson all died in the fire.

Jenkins says the family likely became disoriented in the smoke as they tried to escape. One child was found in a bathroom. The Tampa Tribune reports the grandmother and two children were found half-wedged under a mattress to escape the flames.