INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – An Indianapolis man and a 5-year-old child have died following a cabin fire in Tennessee this weekend.
Investigators said Tyveon Temple and his 56-year-old uncle Ricky Hudson died while on vacation in Sevierville, Tenn. Officials say there were 22 people, from Indianapolis and Louisville, staying at the cabin. The group arrived there on Friday.
Pastor Christopher Armstrong of Mount Vernon Community Missionary Baptist Church said Hudson and his wife were the patriarchs of the family. Hudson was a long time member of the church.
On Saturday, police dispatchers received the call about the fire around 4:30 a.m. from Cabins at the Crossing. When crews arrived, the three-story cabin was almost completely on fire.
“Mad, angry, depressed. I just can’t believe it happened to us,” said Tynisha Brown.
She’s one of 20 people lucky to be alive after their cabin caught fire. She said her uncle, Ricky Hudson, smashed several windows out as he helped others get outside.
“When he busts the windows open he cut his main artery,” she said.
Despite his injuries, Brown said he continued to get people outside. She said the fire started by the front door so everyone had to jump off the balcony. She said Hudson was waiting down below to catch them.
All the members of the group escaped from the cabin, except 5-year-old Tyveon Temple. Officials said he died in the fire.
“We wasn’t even there a whole day and now my little brother’s gone and I feel like it’s my fault that I should have went in there and I should have got him,” Brown said with tears in her eyes. “Now he not even with me no more.”
Armstrong and other church leaders drove to Tennessee to pick up the family. The family’s vehicles were destroyed in the fire so they had no other way to get home.
“Regardless of how they were coming back, we were going because that’s what families do,” he said.
When the church group got to the hospital, authorities and the Red Cross had already provided assistance with food and clothing.
“The ride back was very long as one could understand. Tears all the way, just sniffles, all the way.”
Armstrong made it back in time for Sunday service, making sure to tell the congregation of Hudson’s selfless act.
“A man died saving his family,” he proclaimed during his sermon.
A man Brown is proud to call her uncle.
“He was brave, he died a brave man. He died a hero,” she said.
17 members returned home Saturday night. Three others were expected to return home on Sunday. Sunday morning, Hudson’s wife was still in a Tennessee hospital.
Pastor Armstrong said Hudson’s wife had donated his organs to the Tennessee Donors Society. Investigators are working to recover Tyveon’s remains.
Firefighters, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal Bomb and Arson Section, as well as the University of Tennessee Forensics Center are investigating.