Local News

Mom's Desperate Attempt to Save Son From Fire Fails

Posted March 6, 2007 10:15 a.m. EST
Updated March 7, 2007 12:49 p.m. EST

— A community is in mourning after a mother, her infant daughter and 2-year-old son were victimized by fire Monday afternoon.

The boy, Joshua, was in a separate room and died in the fire as his mother, Shaquita Braswell, risked her life running into flames to try to save him, witnesses said.

"She'd rather die for her kids," said Ebony Green, a family friend. "And I'm pretty sure, right now, she wishes it were her instead of her son."

Firefighters responded to the Braswell home, at 137 Pratt Road, at about 3:20 p.m.

Witnesses said Braswell was able to grab her daughter but in the midst of the chaos was unable to locate her son. Friends say she jumped out the window, screaming for help.

"The mother, Shaquita, knocked on the window and said, 'My baby was on fire,'" neighbor Janice Sharpe said. "And we ran out -- I told my mother to call 911."

"He was trying to get out, Braswell's friend, Michael Williams, said. "They say he was knocking on the window trying to get out, but they couldn't get to him."

Braswell and the infant daughter were taken to the Burn Center at UNC Hospitals, where they are said to be OK physically.

The fire is still under investigation and so far, does not appear suspicious. Officials say one possible cause is an electric heater the boy was reportedly playing with moments before the fire broke out.