'Help me, please:' Neighbor hears cries for help of husband, wife killed in Florence house fire

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – A husband and wife were killed in a house fire in Florence Friday afternoon, the county coroner confirmed.

The fire department responded to a call for the fire on Timmons Street near Wilson Street in Florence Friday afternoon.

The Florence City Fire Department received the call at about 12:14 p.m., and were told two people were in the home at the time of the fire, according to Fire Marshal Chris Johnson.

It took crews roughly 30 minutes to get the blaze under control, Johnson said. Firefighters remained on scene for almost two hours to handle hot spots.

Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken identified the victims - a husband and wife - as Geraldine Estes Gee, 52, and James Gee Sr., 62.

Geraldine Gee was pronounced dead at the scene, while James Gee was pronounced at a local hospital emergency room, the coroner added.

According to Johnson, the cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.

Dorothy Johnson, who lives next door, said the couple were in their 50s or 60s and the woman was in a wheelchair.

Johnson said she could hear the screams for help coming from inside. The couple was yelling her name, asking her to help.

"I ran out my front door, and he asked me for help, and I said, 'OK.' And I heard his wife call my name. She said, 'Dot, help me, please,' and I said, 'OK baby I will.' But I couldn't do it," Johnson said.

In the end, nobody was able to help them in time. Johnson said it's such a sad sight to see, and it's going to be hard to move forward after this.

Shanza Ervin and Sharon Dixon, Geraldine Gee's nieces, said this will be a tough time for them.

"We just hope and pray that the family gets stronger and we pray through this, and we're asking everybody to pray," Ervin said.

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