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Fire in Lancaster claims 2 more lives; death toll now at 6

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 05 2013 09:28:02 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 05 2013 06:12:11 PM CDT

The heartbreak continued and the death toll climbed Friday, one day after a devastating fire in Lancaster.

LANCASTER, Pa. -

The heartbreak continued and the death toll climbed Friday, one day after a devastating fire in Lancaster.

Mikey Kuhns, 4, died at Crozer-Chester Medical Center at 6 p.m. Thursday, and her mother, Crystal Kuhns, 41, died Friday morning at 7:30 a.m., which brought the total number of people killed to six, said officials.

Kordell Kuhns, 2, the only survivor of the Kuhns family, remained in critical condition Friday. The little boy is not breathing on his own, family members said.

The Fourth of July fire broke out around 3 a.m. Thursday at a row house in the 100 block of East Clay Street.

Fifteen people were staying at the home, and 14 were inside at the time of the fire. Officials ruled it an accident and said it started after frozen potatoes were left in the oven. The home did not have working smoke detectors, said officials.

"I had nightmares last night. I kept waking up on and off," said Jimmie Brock, who lost his father in the fire.

The unthinkable pain has haunted Brock, who put on a brave face Friday but said inside, his heart was broken.

Brock learned on Facebook that Mikey Kuhns passed away Thursday night and her mother, Crystal, died Friday morning.

"It just reflects on me knowing Crissy lost her life this morning. Man it's eating away at me, eating away," Brock said.

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The Kuhns family was staying with Brock's father, Jimmie Moore, trying to get back on their feet. They were longtime friends of the family and turned to Jimmie in their darkest hour.

"My father has always been a giving guy, and when they needed a place to stay, they came to the first place they knew who wouldn't turn them down," Brock said.

Jimmie Moore, 64, a Vietnam War veteran, ran back inside the home to try and save his family and friends, but his courageous effort turned into heartbreak. Jimmie and his friend, David Kuhns, were found dead on the second floor. Two of David and Crystal's young boys, Skyler, 8, and Shawn, 6, passed away at the hospital Thursday.

"It's just overwhelming. It's overwhelming sadness and it's such a tragedy," said Heather Torres, a friends with the Moore and Brock families.

Torres worked Friday to set up a fund for the people who survived the fire but have nothing left. She also asked for toiletries and clothing to help get them back on their feet.

"We have a small community, but also it can be a blessing at the same time for families in need," said Torres.

Torres also reached out to local funeral homes, and tried to get the Kuhns children buried for free.

A memorial fund has been set up to help the Kuhns family. Donations to the Kuhns' Babies and Family Memorial Fund can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank branch.