Family and friends devastated 3-year old killed in fire - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Family and friends devastated 3-year old killed in fire

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3 year old Anna Hocutt 3 year old Anna Hocutt

    When the grandmother of three year old Anna Hocutt first arrived to looked at the burned out mobile home where Anna died, all she could do was shed tears.  "I can't believe she's gone.  It hasn't sunken in yet.  I can't believe this happened," said Tina Armstrong.

     Anna spent Christmas Eve, Tuesday at her grandmothers house and later that night "I brought her home around 8:30, tucked her in and told her Santa was coming."

     That's the last time Armstrong says she saw the toddler alive.  Around the same time Thursday night, tragedy struck when flames gutted the Hocutt's mobile home on Dubberly lane with the toddler trapped inside.

     A family friend, Rodney Seal says he was helping Anna's father install a natural gas heater when flames engulfed the trailer.  Somehow Anna's mother, Veroinica and father John managed to escaped.  But, neighbor Art Rangel says they were not able to get Anna out.  "I went to the back door by the window and when I tried to open it it was hot.  When I finally got it open flames just shot out."

     The Alabama State Fire Marshall's office is investigating how the blaze started and whether a mishap with a natural gas heater contributed.

     Neighbor Rangel says he had just played with Anna on the family's nearby trampoline Christmas Eve.  "This doesn't make any sense he said," questioning why no one was able to get the little girl out in time.

     It's the second fire tragedy for the family.  Their 9-year old daughter, Ashley died in a house fire while staying overnight with a friend four years ago.

     We're told John Hocutt suffered serious burns to his head and arm but the extent of his treatment is unknown.  Anna's mother, Veronica was not injured.