Midland Park Lane

Five die Saturday in Newnan house fire

by John A. Winters

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Jeffrey Leo

A small memorial to honor the five lives lost in Saturday morning's house fire has begun at the remains of the Midland Park Lane residence.

A 28-year-old Newnan mother and four children, all under the age of five, were killed in an early Saturday morning fire.

The only survivor, an 11-year-old, escaped through a window with the help of two passersby, according to Newnan Deputy Police Chief Rodney Riggs. The other children were aged 5, 3, 2 and 1.

The state Fire Marshal said the fire was electrical in cause and started in a breaker box, said Newnan Police Chief Buster Meadows.

"It's just awful," he said about the tragedy. "It really is."

The bodies were being taken to the state Crime Lab today for autopsies to determine the exact cause of death.

The only survivor, Molly McCrary, remembered "I couldn't breathe. I was sleeping, but I couldn't breathe ... the dogs kept barking."

The 11-year-old said she went to find her mother, but she was not in her room. Molly said her mom was outside and was returning to get the other children.

The Evans Middle School student never saw her mother again. She remembered a neighbor, Patrick Bolton, being at a window and speaking to her. "Pat told me to crawl out," she said.

Molly was taken to a hospital for observation, but returned to the house later Saturday.

Coweta 911 received a call at 1:16 a.m. and Newnan police were the first on the scene at the Midland Park Lane residence, quickly followed by Newnan Fire Department personnel, authorities said. 

"The house was fully involved by the time we arrived," said Battalion Chief Stephen Brown.

Three of the bodies were in one room and two others were found in another one, according to Newnan Fire Marshall Tim Cook.

Authorities identified the dead mother as Alonna McCrary. The children who perished are Eriel McCrary, 5, Messiah White, 3, Nikia White, 2, and Makinzie Florence, 1. The chief said Eriel and Nikia were daughters of McCrary and the other two were stepdaughters.

They were all staying for a sleepover, according to relatives.

Twelve firefighters responded from Station 1 and Station 3 and five off-duty firefighters also were called in, Brown said.

It is the first fire fatality in the city of Newnan in several years, according to authorities. Two people have died this year in separate fires in Coweta County.

The fire is being investigated by the Newnan Fire Department, Newnan Police Department and the State Fire Marshal.

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(Staff writer Winston Skinner contributed to this story.)


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