Drummonds fire that killed 2 children ruled accidental

Family identifies 2 children killed in Drummonds house fire
Published: Dec. 8, 2016 at 3:34 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 9, 2016 at 11:32 AM CST
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DRUMMONDS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee Bureau of Investigation joined other fire investigators to figure out what started the house fire in Drummonds, Tennessee that killed 4-year-old Catye-Grace Sutton and 2-year-old DeWayne Sutton.

Thursday night, officials determined the cause of the fire to be accidental. Investigators revealed that a space heater is likely the cause of the fire.

Investigators said the children's mother went next door to assist with a medical emergency of a family member while the children were asleep. Moments later, the house caught fire. When family members returned home, they were unable to re-enter due to the flames.

"It's hard when you try to do everything you can to get to your babies and you just can't get to them," the kids' grandmother, Becky Duell, said.

The children's great grandfather has burns on his face and arms. He went inside the burning home trying to save the kids, but it was too late.

"The window just exploded, and within 30 seconds it looked like the whole house had just exploded," great-grandfather Maynard Huffman said.

Huffman said did everything he could to save them. He remains covered in bandages.

"When I opened the door, all I could see was smoke," he said. "It just exploded like you throwing gas on it and the fire just shot out."

The family now has to deal with an unbearable loss.

"She was sassy pants and he was chunky monkey," Duell said. "We all loved them. They were our world, what we all lived for."

Family members set up a fundraising page following the fire that destroyed 75 percent of their home.

Balloons and flowers adorn the area where friends, family, and neighbors stopped by to show their support.

"I got folks on Facebook--and I've got no clue who they are--asking, 'What can I do?'" Duell said.

Parents at Drummonds Elementary School, where the children's two older brothers attend school, dropped off donations Thursday to help the Sutton family.

"Very heartwarming to see the community come together to help this family," Drummonds Elementary School Assistant Principal Judy Stigall said.

One couple even offered to give the Suttons a vacant home to stay in until they get back on their feet.

"After the family has laid those two babies to rest and they need places to go, they can go to a home and it'll be furnished," Tiffany Hayse said.

That support is what is keeping the family going at a time when family means the most.

Duell said she still cries when she opens her closet and sees the Christmas presents she'd already bought for Catye-Grace and DeWayne.

"I should have been the one that went. I was 50, and I've lived my life. I wish it was me instead of them," Duell said.

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