JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The parents of three children who died in a house fire Tuesday returned home Wednesday with their only surviving daughter by their side.
Richard Fowler walked up alone to the home that the family once shared on Palmetto Street. Jennifer Fowler said she could not bear to face the damage from the fire that killed her mother, Shelia Swearingen, and her three youngest children: Richard (Bubba) Fowler, 4, Rachel Fowler, 2, and Janet Fowler, 10 months.
Despite the tragedy, the Fowlers told Action News that are thankful that a young stranger saved Hattie Fowler, 6.
"If it weren't for you, no telling what would've happened to her," Jennifer Fowler told 13-year-old Robert Pritchard. "You saved my baby's life. You're a hero."
Jennifer Fowler said Hattie was not physically injured in the fire, but relives what she saw.
"She just seen (sic) them all laying side by side, and she looked and me and said, 'Mommy, they was already dead.'"
Robert heard Hattie's screams for help and pulled her to safety, but he told the Fowlers that he does not consider himself a hero
, and wishes he could have done more.
"When I heard there were more people in the house, I just couldn't believe it. I'm so sad," Robert said.
"You done (sic) the best you can," Jennifer Fowler told the teen. "And I'm very thankful for that. Very, very thankful."
But while they are grateful, the Fowlers say they are also living their worst nightmare.
"Our babies are gone and we can't bring them back. I would give my life for theirs, but I can't," Jennifer Fowler said.