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Local
Northside fire kills 3 kids and grandmother
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Northside fire kills 3 kids and grandmother

Northside fire kills 3 kids and grandmother
Three kids and their grandmother were killed when their Jacksonville trailer caught fire Tuesday afternoon.

Northside fire kills 3 kids and grandmother

Neighbors and friends gathered outside a charred trailer on the Northside Wednesday morning.

Some came with teddy bears and flowers in honor of the three children and their grandmother who died Tuesday night when a trailer caught fire.

The children were Richard “Bubba” Fowler Jr., 4, Rachel Fowler, 2, and Janet Fowler, 9-months, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.  Their 6-year-old sister, Hattie Fowler, was the only survivor.

JSO identified the grandmother as 53-year-old Shelia Swearingen.

Records with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement showed Swearingen is a registered sex offender.  She was arrested for lewd lascivious acts with or around a child under 16 in 1997.

Neighbors said Swearingen and Clayton Woods were taking care of the children while their parents were in jail.

Woods, the children’s grandfather, said he left the trailer located on the 12700 block of Palmetto Street to take a shower at his own near-by house.

He ran back to the trailer after hearing his neighbors calling for help.

"I heard somebody hollering at the door and says, 'Your grandbabies are burning up,'" said Woods.

Neighbors tried to help the family inside. WOKV is told a teenager riding by on his bike was able to save a 6-year-old. 

"(Woods) had those babies since they were born, raising them and taking care of them," said relative Thelma Carter.

A report from JSO shows the children’s father, Richard Alfred Fowler, was arrested Saturday on child neglect charges. The arrest report showed he was too intoxicated to take care of the child he was in charge of while attending an event at Everbank stadium.

According to Woods, The Department of Children and Families advised that the children should remain in their home while being looked after, the same trailer that is now destroyed by the fire.

The cause of the fire is still unclear.  WOKV reached out to the State Fire Marshall’s Office to find out if they have determined a cause.

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