Cleveland dispatch tapes from deadly Collinwood fire tell a chilling tale

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A day after a fire claimed the lives of four members of the Lathan family, a backhoe tore down the last standing wall of their home, completing the devastating destruction the fire had triggered.

Emergency dispatch tapes reviewed by Cleveland 19 show how quickly the events unfolded, from the very first call to 911.

"Across the street from 16161 Hillview, house on fire," said one dispatcher.

Three minutes later, a dispatcher tells responding crews: "Getting numerous calls there's people in that house...Yeah, sounds like it's going pretty good."

Sixty seconds later, there's confirmation as the first unit arrives

"Working house fire, people trapped."

As the drama unfolded the details became more chilling as a dispatcher relayed what callers were telling him.

"We're getting reports from citizens that there's people in that house. They can hear them, but they cannot locate their exact location."

A call from an ambulance in which Gianna Lathan was being cared for after jumping to safety from a second story window foretold what turned out to be the truth: "We've got four people unaccounted for so we're thinking we're gonna have four doa's two of them children. We've got the mom in the truck now and that's what she's telling us is unaccounted for in this house."

At this point evidence from the fire scene continues to be analyzed.

No cause has been determined.

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