‘Fire was just too strong’: Family speaks out after house fire leaves sister dead

Published: Jul. 28, 2019 at 6:13 PM EDT
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WINNSBORO, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Fire Marshall’s Office determined the cause of a fire on Lilton Road where one woman died on July 19th.

A spokesperson from the Richland County Fire Marshall’s Office says the fire was caused from an overloaded electrical circuit.

Shari Samuels died early Friday morning on July 19, after being trapped in a house fire at 301 Lilton Road in Winnsboro. An autopsy indicated that Samuels died due to carbon monoxide toxins from smoke inhalation.

Columbia Fire Department arrived on the scene after 12:30 a.m. to find the home engulfed in flames. Four occupants made it out of the home safely, but one person was found inside.

Randy Samuels, Shari Samuels sister, says he’s rented the home for fourteen years. Shari lived there with him.

“She always be teasing with me, we always had fun because we sister and brother we always had that connection,” Randy Samuels said. “I love my sister. And this [the fire] took her away from us.”

Latrice Hicks, Randy’s girlfriend who also lives in the home said, “she tried to make it out but the fire was just too strong for her.”

The family tells WIS a celebration of life for Shari took place last week.

Underneath the charred remains and heartache of losing loved ones, comes the fear of what’s next.

The family says they do not have insurance on the home.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do. Or where we’re going to go, or where we’re going to end up,” Hicks said. “We don’t have nothing. Nothing.”

Hicks adds they have two children, and all of their belongings were also burned in the fire.

Despite the uncertainty, the family continues to fight.

“Trying to stay strong, because you can’t give up. If you give up you just might be out on the streets somewhere,” Hicks said.

The American Red Cross has helped the family, but the family says those funds are running out.

The family is asking for the communities help, as they work to rebuild.

You can contact Latrice Hicks at 803-402-5791 or donate by clicking here.

Investigators say it’s unclear if working smoke detectors were inside the home when the fire started.

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