Child dies in early-morning house fire in Darlington County

Child dies in early-morning house fire in Darlington County
Scene of the fire on Railroad Avenue. (Source:) James Gilbert
Scene of the fire on Railroad Avenue. (Source:) James Gilbert

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - A child has died in a residential fire in Darlington County, according to a press release from the Darlington County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were dispatched to a residential fire in the 700 block of Railroad Avenue in the Hartsville area of Darlington County 12:00 a.m. Monday.

The Hartsville Fire Department and the Darlington County Fire District responded as well. Fire Department crews recovered a one- year- old child from the residence. The child was transported to an area hospital and later died. The cause of death has not been revealed.

James Gilbert has lived across the street his whole life. He came to check on the house and talked to WMBF News. "Well it's kind of sickening because a child died in it when I talked to the people who lived here last night they didn't make any assumption there was a child here. They said everyone got out safe so to read about it this morning, it's just eerie to know a child died here," Gilbert stated.

He was shocked to hear a child lived in the house and said it's a life taken way too early. "A human life disappearing it's just unbelievable. Especially it being a child, who will never get to go to school, or prom or get married or have children."

Gilbert and his neighbors walked outside after they saw the smoke and flames through the trees. He said he saw more than ten emergency vehicles and fire trucks on Railroad Avenue. "The scene had increased so much and still here at 2:30, 3:00 o'clock in the morning, it was still cluttered with a bunch of different emergency vehicles."

The Hartsville Fire Department said six people lived in the house and all got out safely before crews responded, except for the one year old. Gilbert added, "I was talking to the individuals who lived here and the older man was complaining about smoke inhalation and said he walked to the back window and said he couldn't see anything but flames. It astonishes me there was no mention about a child," Gilbert said.

Gilbert explained how his family has roots in the entire area and reminisced about when he was a child. He said, "It's just unbelievable part of the neighborhood is gone now and won't be brought back."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by Sheriff's Investigators and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division has been requested to assist.

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