ST. STEPHEN, SC (WCSC) - The Berkeley County Coroner says a woman, her children and a family pet are dead after a fire ripped through a St. Stephen mobile home early Thursday morning.
The three victims died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns to the body, Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said. The deaths have been ruled accidental.
One person was able to escape the flames and call 911, officials say.
"He was screaming the whole time, pretty much praying for God to save his children," said Kristen Phillips, a neighbor.
Phillips said she woke up to the sounds of banging on her door around 3:30 Thursday morning.
"I was worried something was going on with my own family and then I heard the words help, God help," she said.
"It hurts very much," said Gabe Bowens, a cousin of the victims. "I don't wish this on [any] family. None at all. It's just a horrible thing to see something like this happen."
Coroner Bill Salisbury said the man who escaped was taken to MUSC for his injuries.
"He had burns across his face," Bowens said.
When the man returned to the Shady Trail Lane home, he was visibly distraught; nearly collapsing at the sight of his home, and the loss of his family.
"I've only been able to get 20 minutes of sleep in because I still hear the gentleman screaming," Phillips said.
Salisbury identified the victims as Christina King, 44, Daniel King, 24, and Lakala King, 14.
"They all are very common people," Bowens said. "I loved them. It's hard. It's very hard, but we have to lean to the Lord."
Bowens believes faith will help the family move past this tragedy.
Salisbury said crews were called to the home near Hwy 52 for a fully-involved house fire shortly after 3:30 a.m.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is working with local agencies to investigate the cause of the fire.