LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - The Lexington County Coroner says three people killed in an Edmund Highway house fire early Sunday morning died from carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal burns.
Coroner Harry Harman has not officially identified the victims, but family members said the three people killed were toddlers Almata and Harvey Jones, as well as their 39-year-old father, who is also named Harvey Jones.
Lexington County Fire Service arrived around 6:00am to find the three-bedroom home engulfed in flames. Assistant Fire Chief David Fulmer said all three were found in the den.
"I've been doing this for 25 1/2 years, and kids affect you different every time," said Fulmer. "I'm a father. I have a 12-year-old daughter. When I see that, the victims are young. It's just sad."
Others, like Kamile Phillips, gathered at the scene and looked in disbelief. "All we can do is pray and be there for each other," said Phillips, who knew the victims.
Phillips and her loved ones were watching firefighters sift through what's left of the house. Loved ones said the man inside who died was trying to rescue the children.
"Miserable," expressed Ulysses Porterfield, who knew the victims, "Miserable. It's a hard pill to swallow right now."
The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. "I hate that something like this gotta happen to pull us all together," said Phillips.
Assistant Chief Fulmer said the other six individuals were treated and released. The Red Cross is helping them find a place to stay.
A portion of the highway was closed to block off the scene earlier, according to the SC Highway Patrol, and traffic was being re-routed.
The Lexington County EMS, the Lexington County Sheriff's Department, and the Lexington County Coroner's Office were also assisting. SLED will be investigating the fire as well.