Sheriff's Office: Fatal fire a 'tragic accident'
Two people were killed in a fire on Saturday morning, according to the Aiken County Sheriff's Office, which labeled the fire a “tragic accident.”
Mary Childs, 82, and her 3-year-old granddaughter Arbrielle Douse, both of Aiken, died in a fire that began just before midnight at a Pinecrest Avenue home, according Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton. Carlton said the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal injury.
Fire crews responded to the blaze after the Sheriff's Office received a call that a home was in flames and that two people may be trapped inside.
The two victims were found inside the home by Aiken Department of Public Safety officials after the fire was extinguished several hours later, according to a press release issued by the Sheriff's Office.
An 8-year-old child was in the home but was able to escape.
At this time, investigators have determined that the fire was started in one of the bedrooms as the child was playing with matches. The Sheriff's Office, with the assistance of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division, is continuing to investigate this incident.
“This is a tragic accident, which has had a great impact to this family and the surrounding community,” the press release reads. “There will be no criminal charges in the case.”
The structure is still standing, but the interior of the home appears to be gutted.
The incident has certainly shaken the closely knit neighborhood. Celia Price grew up living next to the family that resided in the home, and she was heartbroken by the news.
“They were just quiet, kept to themselves. They were good neighbors,” Price said on Saturday afternoon. “It's just difficult, devastating.”
Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010. She is a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College and a native of Rustburg, Va.