Two children are dead and three others are injured following a mobile home fire early Friday morning in Ellabell.
And a family is displaced after their Ellabell home burned in an unrelated incident early Friday.
Bryan County Fire Chief Otis Willis said the mobile home at 852 Pine Needle Drive caught fire around 4 a.m.
Gavin Dale Newman, 3, and his brother, Randal Newman III, 4, were killed in the fire, while Crystal Beasley, 23, Randal Newman Jr., 33, and Aden Wells, 6, all suffered heavy smoke inhalation and burns, according to a press release from the state’s insurance and fire safety commissioner.
Willis said the three survivors were taken to the hospital and were later transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta.
The state fire marshal was on the scene around 9 a.m. with an arson K-9 unit to investigate the cause of the blaze, which was ruled accidental.
“The investigation revealed the fire originated in the living room area of the home and was caused by an electrical space heater being placed too close to combustible materials,” the release states.
Willis said the mobile home did not have a smoke alarm.
Willis said the American Red Cross was on scene to help those injured in the blaze. Additionally, a fund has been established for the family at Bryan Bank and Trust and Savannah Bank. Donations can be made to the Beasley Family Donation fund.
Also, Ashley Roberts is accepting clothing and other charitable donations to help the family. She can be reached at 912-220-2976.
Willis said in addition to Bryan County Fire Department, crews from Pembroke and Effingham responded.
“Basically by 6 this morning we had the fire under control,” he said.
The fatal blaze came on the heels of another house fire in the North Bryan area, Willis said. Just after 1 a.m. crews responded to 9275 Highway 204 in Ellabell to find a wood-structured home engulfed in flames, he said.
“It may have been an electrical problem, but it is still under investigation,” Willis said.
He said the home was a total loss, displacing Barbara Bacon and her son. No injuries to the residents or firefighters were reported from that fire.
Willis said he believed the Highway 204 home also did not have a working smoke alarm.
“We strongly encourage smoke alarms close to living quarters and close to the kitchen of every home,” he said. “We strongly suggest, because we are getting into the heating season, to have a trained technician to look at your heat system.”
Willis said fire officials also discourage the use of space heaters.
“If they are used, they should be turned off and unplugged — and be sure there is a clearance of 3 feet of any flammable material,” he said. “Never ever put any kind of clothing on the heater, even if it’s believed to be unplugged.”