“We tried our best” Neighbors who tried to save 5-year-old St. Mary Parish boy in deadly fire, speak out

St. Mary Parish

ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) A five-year-old boy is dead, and a woman is in the hospital after authorities say a Franklin man set them both on fire Tuesday evening. 

Officials say Derwin Hamilton, 49, set his girlfriend and young nephew on fire during an argument with the woman about their relationship ending.

Neighbors tell News Ten they did everything they could to save the little boy from their burning mobile home, using a tractor to tear a hole in the wall of the bedroom where the boy was trapped inside. 

They say they were able to get him out, but it was too late.

“After we were able to get some of the tin lifted up off of the mobile home, we were able to see into the home where the smoke wasn’t because smoke rises. He was lying on the floor, so we grabbed him,” Derick Lovely, who lives next door, recalled. 

“When we first got him out, he did still have a pulse and a little faint heart rate. He took a few breaths and kind of spaced out, so we had hopes that maybe he would have made it,” another neighbor, Shane Boudreaux, added. 

The 5-year-old boy died soon after.

Authorities say his uncle, Derwin Hamilton, poured liquid on him and his girlfriend and then lit them both on fire.

“I just can’t imagine what kind of animal would do such a thing,” Boudreaux added. 

The neighbors say they remember seeing Hamilton’s girlfriend running out of the burning home.

“She was pretty much on fire. Almost pretty much all of her clothes were burned off of her,” Lovely recalled.

“She screamed, ‘I’m on fire! Put me out! My kid is in the house! Help my kid, help my kid!'”

The neighbors said they did everything they could to try to save him.

“We tried our best. I tried to go in. I even went in the home, but it was so dark you couldn’t see anything. It was so hot you could actually reach out, and when you reached your hand out, you could feel the heat,” Lovely remembered. 

“The fire was so hot, and the smoke was so bad. We did everything we could and got him out as quick as possible, but unfortunately I think it was a little late,” Boudreaux said. 

Lovely and Boudreaux say now every time they look at their neighbor’s home, where that spunky, fun-loving 5-year-old lived with his uncle and his uncle’s girlfriend, they think about the horror of Tuesday night.

“It was like a movie, just terror. That’s all I can say about it. It was like terror,” Lovely told News Ten.
Investigators say Hamilton did admit to setting his girlfriend and his 5-year-old nephew on fire.

Hamilton is now facing charges for second degree murder and attempted second degree murder. 

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