MILWAUKEE — Tinna Clark is grieving the deaths of her 4-year-old son, and the grandfather who raised her. Both were killed when their home caught fire Wednesday as she was out running an errand.
"They were best friends," Clark said about her son and grandfather. "They loved each other so much. I have lost everything."
Clark left home late Wednesday morning. When she returned around 12:15 p.m. the house was engulfed in flames.
"I froze and panicked," she said. "I tried to go up to the house. My friend wouldn't let me. All you could see was fire and smoke. I just cried out for them."
Clark's friend and three-month-old daughter, Ava, made it out of the house alive. Both were treated for smoke inhalation.
But Clark's grandfather, Gary, and her son, Rayveon, were trapped together on the first floor. That's where investigators say the fire started, but they haven't revealed the cause.
When firefighters pulled Gary and Rayveon out of the home, they were not breathing.
"My grandfather did everything to make me happy," Clark said. "He was a disabled veteran, who raised me from when I was two months old. Anytime I had a problem, he was there for me to turn to."
Hours after the fire, Clark returned to her home to see the damage, thinking only of her son and grandfather. In the charred living room, she found her son's melted Nerf gun. A memory of something that brought him pure joy.
"I just bought him that Nerf gun, and he loved it so much," she said. "He wouldn't let go of that thing. He would drive everyone crazy running around the house, shooting at people with it. He was always so happy. He was such a sweet boy."
The Milwaukee Fire Department will install smoke alarms for free to anyone who calls the Smoke Alarm Hotline at 414-286-8980.