Mother Of Children Who Died In Weleetka House Fire 'Overwhelmed'


Tuesday, August 17th 2010, 12:58 pm
By: News On 6


By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

WELEETKA, Oklahoma -- The state Fire Marshal's office plans to interview the 8-year-old boy who survived a Monday morning house fire in the town of Weleetka that left six people dead. 

Assistant State Fire Marshal JoAnne Sellars said Tuesday that the boy, Tavis Southern, is "very important to talk to" because he could help pinpoint where the blaze erupted and how it spread. 

8/16/2010  Related Story: Weleetka Community Faces More Tragedy When 6 Die In House Fire

News On 6 reporter Tara Vreeland talked with Tavis' mother, Crystal Kelough, Tuesday.

Kelough is five months pregnant. She is supposed to find out if she's having a boy or girl on Wednesday, but says she doesn't think she will make the appointment because she is now planning a funeral for her two youngest children.

"I've been avoiding seeing pictures," Kelough said. "I just, I can't look at them right now."

Three-year-old James Southern and his two-year-old sister Barbara were killed in a fire early Monday morning.

"It was just overwhelming, I don't even know," Kelough said. "I still don't know what I feel, other than they're not here."

Kelough was working an overnight shift at a nursing home when the fire broke out as the others slept.

Her eight-year-old son Tavis was also in the home. She says the smell of smoke and parts of the falling ceiling woke him. Kelough said Tavis tried to wake the others: his babysitter Renee Buck, her daughter Latoya Bush and Bush's two children, Tristen and Kurystn Pelegrin.

"He blamed himself, because he wasn't able to get to the babies and get them out," Kelough said. "He was so scared he just took off to the neighbor's house and called."

Tavis was the only one who made it out alive.

"He was scared he was going to be in trouble because he left the yard without permission," Kelough. "I told him you done what you're supposed to do, you done good."

Counselors and ministers have benn speaking with students as the community to heal. 

Schools in town have lowered their flags. There are plans in the works for a community-wide prayer service on September 12th.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.