“She told us she was gonna blow us up:” Milwaukee home destroyed by arson, kills two

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee police say a house fire in which two people died on the city's north side was arson. Now, investigators from the ATF and the State Fire Marshal's office are joining the probe.

The fire happened near 38th and Wright early Friday morning, April 17th.

When firefighters first arrived on the scene shortly after 3 a.m., flames were showing on the first and second floors of the home. At the same time, firefighters heard explosions coming from inside the building. It was later determined there were numerous oxygen tanks inside the building. The fire spread to a second home.

A 27-year-old man and an adult female, who is yet to be identified, died in the house fire. Their deaths are now being investigated as homicides.

The two victims did not live in the home -- they were apparently in town to attend a funeral. A third person was injured when they jumped to safety.

A woman who spoke with FOX6 News exclusively says she barely escaped the fire, only to return in an effort to save her friend. These are the hands of a hero.

The woman doesn't want to be identified, but the gut-wrenching nature of this woman's experience is on display as she shares her story.

"All the sudden, I hear something bang-up, like against, it sounded like it was up against my window -- but it wasn't the window. It might have been the siding of the house and then all I see is red fire everywhere. The window started burning immediately, and breaking immediately," said the neighbor.

After she hustled to get her son and pets out of the upper unit of the two story flat, she went back to try to help two men and two women escape the lower unit.

"I hear my friend saying, 'Help me! Help me! Help me!' -- and I went to the side of the house and she busted out the window and then jumped into my arms out the window," said the neighbor.

Her friend, Erica Payne, was cut, and began running.

Meanwhile, another man also escaped.

Police say a woman, and a 27-year-old man were found dead. His relatives later identified him as Dontray Jones.

As investigation continues trying to determine what happened, she says an unidentified woman had stopped at the address twice, late Thursday night, demanding her daughter be let out of the house and threatening those inside.

"Her daughter wasn't even there, the first time she came, she told us she was gonna blow us up," said the neighbor.

Friday afternoon, Pastor Malcolm Hunt arrives to what has become a now familiar scene. The former police officer once patrolled the streets, now looks for other ways to stop the violence.

"It's time for us to stop talking and it's time for us to get out here and start doing something," said Pastor Hunt.

Now a friend, and a neighbor looks for closure and end to the chaos.

"I want justice, peace, safety. This is crazy," said the neighbor.

Milwaukee police say they are joined in what they are calling an arson investigation by the ATF and the State Fire Marshall.

They also tell FOX6 News an incendiary device may have been used to start the fire.

The woman who approached the house late Thursday night has not been identified, however two adult males were arrested at the scene for unrelated charges.

Anyone with information is asked to call Milwaukee Police at 414-935-7360.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

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