Fatal fire investigation ongoing

Published 10:18 pm Monday, March 8, 2010

MARION JUNCTION — A grandmother, a friend and her three grandsons perished in a weekend fire that claimed five lives here.

The dead are identified as Carlia Marie Alexander, 55; Tarayshawn Bell, 8; Anthony Porter Jr., 7; Derriontae Ousley-Porter, 4 and Willie James Oden, age unknown.

The bodies of Alexander, Bell, Porter and Ousley-Porter are at Julia White Funeral Home in Uniontown. Services are pending. Oden’s body is at White Funeral Home in Uniontown and services are not yet scheduled.

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The five perished in a fire that engulfed the mobile home Alexander rented on Dallas County Road 188 just after midnight Saturday.

Irma Bradley, the children’s great-grandmother, said she found out about their deaths shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday. Someone called to tell her about the mobile home fire.

Bradley said she arrived at the site to see emergency workers attempt to extinguish the fire and retrieve the bodies of the children, her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend.

“Everybody knew they were up there,” Bradley said.

The two older boys, Tarayshawn and Anthony, attended Salem Elementary School, Bradley said.

“She had the kids since May. She went up to Joliet and got them. They were from Chicago,” Bradley said.

Often while they were in school, Alexander would bring Ousely-Porter over to see his great-grandmother. The other day, the youngest of the three boys visited Bradley to see the turkeys she had.

Ousely-Porter’s mother, Virena Ousley, said she last saw her son at Thanksgiving. She lives in Madison, Wis. Ousley said her child’s father’s mother took her son to Selma. Ousley did not know he was with Alexander.

“I didn’t know anything about it until my baby’s daddy’s sister called me last night to tell me he was dead,” Ousley said.

She said her son was an active 4-year-old who loved Spiderman, playing and playing with his two uncles who died with him in the fire.

“It’s a tragedy,” Ousley said. “It’s crazy. It’s my child.”

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said all indications are the fire was an accident, but an investigation continues.