Image: Fire victim
WFMJ
A victim in the Youngstown house fire that killed six is carried away by paramedics Wednesday morning.
updated 1/23/2008 7:51:36 PM ET 2008-01-24T00:51:36

A man accused of setting a house fire Wednesday that killed four children, their mother and grandmother lived in the same neighborhood as the victims, authorities said.

Michael Davis, 18, was arrested in what authorities called the largest homicide in city history. No further details about Davis were released.

The blaze started near the front of the house, either on the porch or just inside the front door, said Fire Chief John O'Neill. It spread quickly and consumed the home.

Police Detective Sgt. Patrick Kelly said it looked as if some kind of accelerant had been used to start the fire on the front porch.

Eleven people were inside the house when the fire started, authorities said.

Killed were Carol Crawford, 46, her daughter Jennifer, 23, and Jennifer Crawford's four children: Raneija, 8; Jeannine, 5; Aleisha, 3; and Brandon, 2, said Rick Jamrozik, investigator with the Mahoning County coroner's office.

Three people were treated for unspecified injuries at St. Elizabeth Health Center, hospital spokeswoman Tina Creighton said. She said she could not release their names.

Six counts of aggravated murder
Davis was being held in a Mahoning County jail Wednesday night. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.

He was charged with six counts of aggravated murder and 11 counts of aggravated arson, police said.

The age of the house helped spread the fire, officials said.

"This was old housing stock," police Lt. Robin Lees said. "It was very old wood. The construction, to some extent, facilitated the spread of the fire."

Brenda Brown, who lives next door, gestured to a hobby horse on its side in her front yard and said it belonged to the neighbor children. She was used to seeing them playing on it.

"They were beautiful little kids, and it's really sad," she said.

Brown said firefighters could not get in the home when they first arrived.

"They couldn't even get in," she said. "They put on their oxygen, they tried to get in, they come right back out. ... So, they just kind of let it burn a minute. They didn't really have very much choice."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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