LAKE WALES (FOX 13)
An early morning house fire claimed the lives of a young child and his great grandparents.
Polk County Fire was called to a home at 5301 Fairmont Road in Lake Wales around 12:20 a.m. Sunday.
The front of the home was fully engulfed in flames, according to a neighbor.
Two victims, 6-year-old Liam McLemore and 75-year-old Carolyn Ruff made it out of the fire. They were transported to Lake Wales Medical Center where they later died.
Firefighters found the body of 82-year-old Walter Ruff inside the home.
"It's heartbreaking," said neighbor Rose Morgan. "Flames were going everywhere."
Morgan, who has lived across the street from the couple for more than two decades, said she spotted the blaze from a window of her home.
"I was just hoping that they were alright. That's the only thing. I know that their great grandson was staying with them, and I was just praying that they were alright,' said Morgan.
Liam McLemore, 6, was visiting his great-grandparents for the summer from Alexandria, Virginia.
"He was the sweetest little boy. He used to pet my dog," said Morgan.
The Ruffs were well known in Lake Wales for their former business in the city, Ruffs Feed Store.
Walter Ruff was a member of the Rotary Club of Lake Wales.
On Sunday, the organizations posted a message on their Facebook page:
"Pray for the Ruff family. Walter was a member of our club for many years."
Friends on Facebook said the couple was also very involved in their Lake Wales church, Good Shepherd Episcopal.
According to Morgan, they were very kind people who were always willing to lend a hand.
"They came over here and helped me quite a few times. I broke my leg three years ago, and they helped me then. I just can't believe this happened," said Morgan.
The State Fire Marshal's Office is involved in the fire investigation. The cause of the fire and the exact location where it started in the home are currently unknown.