The full text of a City of Hartsville brief by Mayor Pennington is below:
A Tragedy in Hartsville
It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter today. Yesterday our community experienced a horrible tragedy, and I continue to struggle to find the words to make sense of it.
First, being a father before I am a mayor, I extend the condolences of our city to the family that is struggling to deal with this tragic loss.
I am proud of our firemen and all of our first responders yesterday -- They exhausted every effort to save these four children.
This community has been tested these last three years. We have proven time and time again that even in the most adverse conditions, we pull together in love, support, and we persevere when all hope seems lost.
It is in this spirit that I invite you to join our community as we mourn the tragic loss of these four innocent angels. Join me tomorrow night, April 26th, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. in the center of downtown Hartsville, Centennial Park, as we hold a candle light vigil to memorialize these four children.
Please keep these children and this family in your prayers.
This community has the power, and the compassion, and the resolve to heal -- I hope that you will join me as we begin that journey again tomorrow night.
Carl M. (Mel) Pennington, IV
Mayor, City of Hartsville, SC