10-year-old girl killed in apartment fire on Detroit's west side

Posted at 8:46 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 15:01:43-05

Neighbors and relatives desperately tried rescuing a 10-year-old girl trapped inside her burning Detroit apartment Thursday night, but heavy smoke and flames pushed them back.

Family members yelled in disbelief outside this complex on west Chicago and Burt on the city's west side.

Ten-year-old A'Naiya Payne died, the little girl known for her bubbly and vibrant attitude.

We're told her 3-year-old brother was inside as well, but was able to escape barefoot, running to the convenience store right next door.

His uncle John Emerson was there, ready to run over.

Emerson told us, "The fire was just rolling. We all tried rushing in, but the fire and smoke just pushed everybody back out."

As soon the little boy made it out, at least three others rushed over, trying to break through the door to save the young girl, but heavy smoke and flames held them off.

This neighborhood is now crushed at the thought of a life cut way too short.

Police tell 7 Action News it appears the family was using the stove or oven to heat the home. They also say their mother was upstairs visiting another apartment when the fire broke out around 7 p.m.

Investigators are still searching for an exact cause.

Reggie Melton, a neighbor who tried saving the girl, told us, "You think about your own kids. People were grabbing towels, doing anything they could do, but the smoke was so thick."

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the girl's family.