Search Continues For Cause Of Fatal Fire In Decatur


Dexter Miland Jr., left, and Marlena Miland, right. (Photo: Miland family)

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - Decatur fire investigators are still looking for information in a deadly fire Thursday morning. Two-year-old Dexter Miland Jr., and four-year-old Marlena Miland died inside their family's apartment. Arson investigators spent the day at West Ridge Apartments searching for any clue that might tell them how the blaze began. WHNT News 19 has also learned efforts are underway to help the Milands and other families who lived there.

After the crowds cleared Thursday night, we walked through the apartment complex and talked to several residents who are angry. One told us she wants to move away now. Another told us she still hears the echoes of what happened.

Whitney Crayton is related to the Milands and lives in the apartment directly across from them. "I heard my little cousin screaming, the girl, I heard her. And when I heard that, it just felt like my body just, I was about to collapse. So I'm still, remind you, I'm still on the phone with 911 and the lady is telling me to be calm and do this and do that, and I'm telling her I hear her screaming in there. They're burning up," Crayton said.

Four-year-old Marlena Miland and her 2-year-old brother Dexter Junior both perished in the blaze.

We've learned a benefit will be held Saturday for all the families affected by the fire. "We've got the kid's burials, and we just need your support and we need your help. We need your prayers and support," says Doris Baker, a friend of the Milands who has helped organize a relief benefit for the victims.

Meanwhile, inside the burned apartments, investigators continue their search  for answers. Another day of sifting through the rubble. Yet more state investigators on the scene today. They are trying their best to find the exact cause of this fire and they still say they hope to have more information available on Monday.

That benefit for the fire victims is Saturday night at six at the United Penecostal Jubilee House of Prayer, at 311 Memorial Drive in Decatur. Donations of clothing, furniture, household items and money will gladly be accepted.