Community comes together to mourn loss of little boy in house fire

ELYRIA, Ohio- One day after a four-year-old boy was killed in a house fire, a memorial grows in his honor, outside the collapsed Elyria home which is now just a pile of debris.

The boy's grandfather identified the child as Omerie West. He says he was outside cutting grass when the fire began. Two other grandchildren and his daughter were able to escape.

"I just felt heartbreak for the family losing everything they own, plus a child; my heart just went out to them," said Sherry Stone, who placed flowers at the memorial.

Elyria firefighters said they received a call about the fire Saturday at 3 p.m. and confirmed a child was inside shortly after crews arrived. The boy was later located in his second-floor bedroom.

A next-door neighbor who says he has known the family for seven years, told FOX 8 he attempted to rescue the child.

"We jumped the fence and kicked in the one door thinking maybe the baby went back in there, he didn't," said Jim Finley. "The fireman had his tank on his back but didn't have his mask. He tried to go in through the laundry room and the black smoke, the heat, it come out and knocked him clear out into the yard."

Finley says he often watched the child and describes him as a "jack in the box," who had more energy than ten little boys.

Firefighters say the fire spread rapidly, causing major damage and portions of the home to collapse. Meanwhile as the community waits for answers about a cause of the fire, many neighbors stopped to view what is left of the home and mourn the loss of Omerie.

"Trust in the Lord and just hold your faith strong when you go through something like this," said Sherry, standing near the stuffed animal she left with flowers still clutched in its hand.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help the family.