Alonna McCrary and four of the five little girls inside the suburban Atlanta home were killed early Saturday when it was gutted by a fire investigators believe was likely caused by a faulty electricity circuit breaker.
Nautica McCrary, 11, escaped through a bedroom window and was treated for smoke inhalation. Her mother apparently stayed inside to try to help the other children, who were holding a sleepover.
"She just insisted she wasn't going to let them babies go," Roxanne Arnold, who identified herself as Nautica's aunt, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Arnold also said McCrary had reported the electrical issue to her landlord, who sent a repair person to check it but apparently could not correct the problem.
"If you just had fixed it ... this would never have occurred," she told the newspaper.
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