Boy, 6, killed in southeast Houston house fire

February 28, 2011 4:09:41 PM PST
A six-year-old boy is dead after a fire ripped through his family's southeast Houston house late last night. The six-year-old boy's mother tried to rescue him from the flames, but firefighters say she just couldn't get to him.

Firefighters say what happened is a reminder that a smoke detector can save lives. This family moved in just a month ago. They did not have a smoke detector, and overnight they lost a little boy.

Family members say 6-year-old Muhammad Gillespie and his 5-year-old brother, Keenan, were inseparable. Unfortunately, Muhammad became separated from his little brother and their mother, 25-year-old Trishawna Moman, as she tried to pull both of them out of their burning home.

Relatives say by the time Moman smelled smoke, the house was already filled with flames. She told investigators she grabbed her little boys, but that Muhammad panicked and ran back toward the kitchen. Once she got Keenan outside, she tried to go back inside for Muhammad, but could not reach him because of the flames and smoke.

Firefighters faced the same challenge. The fire was so big that they were unable to get into the house fast enough to get the little boy out alive, and found him dead in the center of the home. With flames that were being fed by high winds, the whole house burned in just minutes.

Relatives say this is a very close knit family, and they are doing their best to console the boy's brother and mother.

"Mainly we're gonna try to just keep praying for her and just be right there with her by her side," said Moman's cousin, Lavetta Moman. "That's all we can do and if she needs any support, we're going to be there for her."

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Relatives tell us CenterPoint Energy was actually scheduled to come out to the home today after a power failure on Friday, but investigators have not said whether that issue had anything to do with this fire.

An autopsy will be performed to determine the little boy's cause of death.

The Houston Fire Department has scheduled a press conference for later today and they say they will reveal some details on the investigation on what caused this fire. Also, the Houston Police Department says its homicide division is investigating the child's case.