Neighbors struggle with child's death in fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Neighbors struggle with child's death in fire; mother not facing charges

The fire broke out Monday inside a house on Effie in South Memphis. The fire broke out Monday inside a house on Effie in South Memphis.

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One day after a South Memphis fire that killed a three-year-old boy and critically injured his two-year-old brother, neighbors struggled to understand how the two children could have been left home alone.

The fire broke out Monday afternoon inside a home in the 1200 block of Effie. Firefighters said the two little boys, who had been left alone, inhaled so much smoke they were already in critical condition when rescuers got to them.

The boys were rushed to Le Bonheur Childrens Medical Center, but for one, it was too late. Ladareon Dunn, 3, died at the hospital. Tuesday, his two-year-old brother remained in critical condition.

The boys' aunt, Marilyn Wilson, said she and their mother left them alone Monday afternoon to go shopping at Citi Trends, a local clothing store. Leroy Davis, who lives four doors away from where the fire broke out, couldn't understand why the children were left alone.

"It was ridiculous," he said. "You don't leave no kids at no house at that age."

Marguerite Moody, who lives next door, said she was still also grappling with what happened.

"I felt real bad, because see, I saw them carrying out the baby and he was limp," Moody said. "And I knew something was wrong."

Bernard Stewart knew something was wrong, but it was too late to help.

"By the time we ran over there try to kick the door and the window in, we heard the little baby hollering. But we couldn't get in there. The flame and fire pushed us back out," Stewart said.

Wilson said she and the boys' mother, Melanie Dunn, had been gone about an hour when they received a phone call about the fire.

"She was alright," Wilson said of Dunn's reaction to the fire. "She went down there, seen them in the ambulance. She didn't get in. Guess she went to Le Bonheur."

Wilson said Dunn is a 23-year-old single mother. A third son, age five, was at school at the time.

Tuesday, the Shelby County District Attorney declined to file criminal charges against Dunn. A press release from Memphis police said the case would be completed and submitted to the District Attorney General's Grand Jury section for a finale review.

Meanwhile, fire investigators say they're still trying to figure out what started the fire.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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