MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. - Burlington County Prosecutor Robert D. Bernardi, Pemberton Township Chief of Police David Jantas and Burlington County Fire Marshall Robert Rose jointly announce the following:
At 11:38 PM on Wednesday December 28th, 2011 a call was placed to 9-1-1 regarding an emergency in the 300 block of Seminole Trail, Pemberton Township. When police and fire personnel responded, they discovered a residential home consumed in flames. Police and fire responders investigated and ascertained that there were 5 children in the home. The ages of the children were 14, 11, 7, 6, and 3 years old. The 14 year old child had been left in charge by her mother Shirita Turner, 34.
The 14 year old child was able to remove all her siblings except for a 7 year old sister, Lamiyah Graves who died in the fire. It was discovered by police and firefighters that the 7 year old child had hidden in a bedroom closet and was unable to escape or be rescued due to heavy smoke and fire.
The cause and origin of the fire is under investigation although it preliminarily believed that the fire was origin was attributable due to accidental means.
Investigators have learned that Shirita Turner, the mother of the 5 children, had left earlier in the afternoon to visit another family member in Philadelphia and had left her 14 year old child in charge.
The reason for Ms. Turner’s visit to Philadelphia is still under investigation. No charges have been filed as of the time of this release.