KINGSTREE, SC (WCSC) - Authorities have identified a mother and son who died from one of two deadly fires that claimed the lives of three people within 24 hours in Kingstree.
The Williamsburg County Coroner's Office said 32-year-old Victoria McKenzie and her 14-month-old boy, Gunner Epps, died from a fire that happened around 1:30 a.m. Monday on Oakland Drive.
Authorities say both died from smoke and soot inhalation.
Neighbor Everett Franklin was awake and saw the fire when he stepped outside his back door.
"It was like 1:30 in the morning, mind blowing," Franklin said.
After calling 911, Franklin says he went to McKenzie's parents' house down the road and returned with her grandfather.
"I was trying to help the grandfather get in the house, but he wasn't able to get in, too much smoke and fire."
Franklin also tried to rescue the mom and baby.
"I used my ladder to try to get into the house to save the young lady and the baby but we weren't able to get in."
Investigators say Mckenzie's fiance' also lived in the house, but was at work when the fire broke out.
Franklin consoled him.
"It was unbelievable. We just prayed and cried together, that's all we could do," Franklin said.
Swinton says both victims were found in the same bedroom, with the baby in a crib and his mother on the floor.
"It's hard, it's hard on everyone because it's a child. Every life is important but when it's a child it touches us," Swinton said.
The home was halfway engulfed when crews arrived, and it took two hours to contain the flames, according to the chief.
65-year-old Charles Wilson died in a fire on Starburst Avenue early Sunday morning, according to the coroner's office.
The fire chief says Wilson was found sitting in a chair in his den. The cause of both fatal fires is under investigation.