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Mother blames grandmother for fire that killed 2 children

Published: Apr. 1, 2016 at 11:46 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 2, 2016 at 2:37 PM CDT
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Amya (Source: Family)
Amya (Source: Family)
Jaleah (Source: Family)
Jaleah (Source: Family)

COVINGTON, TN (WMC) - A fire in Tipton County took the lives of two small children early Friday morning.

Covington firefighters found the two girls trapped inside their home, where they died shortly after 3 a.m.

Now, their mother is pointing the finger of blame at the children's grandmother.

Family friends identified the children as 1-year-old Jaleah and 6-month-old Amya.

"I seen them put my babies in the ambulance with smog on their face. They didn't burn up or nothing. It was smoke inhalation," Jessica Cuningham said.

The fire sparked in a house on the 1700 block of Shoaf Street near Smith Avenue.

Family members said the children's grandmother was also injured in the fire. The extent of those injuries are unclear at this time.

"I'm hurt, cause the kids didn't deserve it. They didn't deserve none of that pain. My heart is heavy right now and it's crazy. Why would somebody do something like that to the kids? Why?" family friend Lashana Blackwell asked.

The mother's pain has now turned to fury after her two children died in the fire. She said she was not at home when the fire started, but she saw the flames and rushed home to try and save her girls.

"Smoke coming up from that way...started running over towards that way and it was my momma's house,' Cuningham said.

Cuningham believes the fire was sparked on purpose.

District Attorney Mike Dunavant said he called in the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Investigation Section to look into the matter. Covington fire and police investigators are looking into the fire as well.

"You know your grandkids are in there. You didn't tell the police, the ambulance, or nobody," Cuningham said questioning her mother's actions.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Family members have setup a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral arraignments for Jaleah and Amya.

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