TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - A neighbor says a 5-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered in a fire that killed his 23-year-old stepsister and her 2-year-old daughter helped save the lives of the other four people who escaped the fire.

"He woke his mother up and they woke everyone else up," Valerie Cooksey said.

Cooksey said Jeremiah Dupin wanted to be a superhero, saying he loved dressing up and pretending to the Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man or Superman.

"He's the little hero in the end," Cooksey told WTHI-TV. "He always wanted to be a superhero and that's exactly what he ended up being."

City Fire Chief Jeff Fisher said there were seven people in the house when the fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. Two-year-old Gabrielle Cunningham died at the scene, he said. Her mother, Kayla Lewis, and 5-year-old Jeremiah were taken to Indianapolis hospitals. Marion County Chief Deputy Coroner Alfie Ballew says Dupin died Sunday and Lewis died Monday.

Ballew said an initial review indicates that Dupin died of smoke inhalation, but said an autopsy had not been conducted. She said the cause of Lewis' death was still under investigation.

Kayla Lewis' 3-year-old daughter Chloe is in good condition at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, spokeswoman Kelly Walker said.

Cooksey said area churches and others are working to gather clothing and money donations for the family.

"There are people all over collecting for them," she said.

The Terre Haute Fire Department and the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office are investigating the cause of the fire.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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