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Grieving Family Prepares Funeral For 8-Year-Old Hero & His Brother

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Sean McCullough, Decerio Coley, children in Bruce Street fatal fire
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Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Family members are preparing to lay to rest two young boys who died after fire ripped through their West Baltimore rowhome early Monday morning. Authorities say one of the boys died trying to save the other.

Derek Valcourt spoke with the boys’ mother about the decision to take him off of life support Monday night.

“I don’t understand it, but I don’t question,” said Rokea McCullough.

McCullough is trying to find peace with the horrible reality that her two boys are dead after a fire gutted their Bruce Street home early Monday morning.

Flames trapped all three of her children on the second floor. Eight-year-old Decerio has been hailed as a hero after he dropped his 4-year-old sister out of a second floor window to safety, then rushed back to look for his 6-year-old brother, Sean. They never re-emerged.

Firefighters could not save Sean but Decerio was on life support with burns to 60 percent of his body.

“His body was fighting very hard but his brain…and if he would’ve stayed, then we wouldn’t have been doing him any justice,” said McCullough.

Tuesday night, Decerio was taken off of life support. His organs, including his strong heart, were donated.

“We all said goodbye together and we played his favorite song, which is Ben E. King, `Stand By Me,’ and we read Psalms 23,” said McCullough.

A church near the fire scene has volunteered the funeral services for the two boys and the city has offered to help with housing–but the family not only lost their home, they lost everything in it. So now they’ve set up the McCullough Foundation in honor of the boys, hoping donations can help them rebuild.

“Everybody’s been giving or is trying to give. I highly appreciate it and my babies say thank you,” she said.

As a memorial tribute grows to the boys, their mother says it’s all because of her hero son that her 4-year-old daughter Wynter is still alive.

“It feels so great that I still have her,” she said.

Family members say they suspect this may have been an electrical fire but officially the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Family members say they will hold a candlelight vigil at the scene of the fire on Friday night.

Donations to help the family can be made to the McCullough Foundation at any M&T Bank branch.

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