3 children dead after woman allegedly tried to stab kids during house fire, sheriff's office says
PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. - EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct inaccurate information provided by law enforcement.
A deadly fire at a home on Woodwind Drive in Paulding County claimed the lives of three children on Friday, the sheriff's office said. A woman is behind bars and facing charges for the incident that authorities call a domestic disturbance and house fire.
While the investigation into the fire is ongoing, residents are trying to process the tragic loss of those children who were inside at the time and died, allegedly, at the hands of the person who was supposed to protect them.
"I just don’t know who would do that to their kids," resident Holly Addison told FOX 5.
Paulding County authorities said they received a call about the fire and domestic disturbance at the home just after 9 p.m. Friday. They were told that at the same time flames were growing inside the home, 40-year-old Darlene Brister was trying to stab the children.
"She had to be sick or so selfish and so self-centered that she didn't care about anything or anyone," resident Robin Zerby said.
She and her husband recalled the chaotic scene just down the street from their home. Another neighbor told FOX 5 they witnessed residents trying to help some of the kids out of the home while a few of the others jumped out of a second story window.
"I’m just glad they got out. For that woman to do that is unbelievably selfish. All she had to do was take the kids to a hospital ... drop them off," resident David Zerby said.
Fire crews got the flames under control and found the remaining children inside. Two of them were pronounced dead at the scene while medics rushed three others to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. One of those children later died.
"There’s nothing about that that made sense anyway, anyhow," Mr. Zerby added.
Residents with heavy hearts stopped by the home that is now a crime scene on Saturday — leaving flowers and toys by the mailbox.
"That situation is so sad. All them little kids...it's just an unimaginable situation...people care," Resident Dale Butterworth said in an interview with FOX 5.
Brister is currently in custody without bond. She’s facing charges of malice murder and authorities in Paulding County said there could be more charges filed as the investigation continues. Her first appearance in court is Monday at 9 a.m.