Sumter, SC (WLTX) - The mother of Robert and Alayiah Jackson, the two children killed in a Sumter apartment fire, spoke about the tragedy Sunday.
"I was a bit hurt. Scared, not knowing if my kids were in the house or what," said Elizabeth Young, the children's mother. "Then I see the paramedics pulling out stretchers. I was scared. I was scared and hurt all at the same time."
After these words, Young broke down crying. She began hyperventilating. We concluded our interview.
Tuesday night, her children were injured in a fire at the Lantana Apartments. The State Law Enforcement Division determined the fire was an arson. Fifty-two-year-old Timothy Dingle, Young's live-in boyfriend, is charged in the incident.
"It made me feel kind of special because the majority of the kids out there, they call me Mother," said Young of the memorial that has formed next to the apartment she called home.
"I was down the street to drop off another little girl I was watching. On the way back I saw the firefighters and the police and i just took off running. I couldn't do anything else. I didn't know if it was my apartment or another apartment. I was just scared it might have been my apartment," said Young.
She realized moments later the flames were coming through her windows.
"They were the two nicest kids you could ever meet," said Maxxell Rufus, the siblings cousin. "They were in the church, they were on the church choir, they were doing good in school, you know, they were lovable kids."
Sunday, Rufus's wife planned a car wash to help raise money to pay for funeral arrangements. Volunteers and dirty cars came out in abundance to help.
"It's a tragedy thats hurting the whole family. Its hurting the whole community," said Rufus.