A 6-month-old child was killed in a fire caused by a space heater overnight at a house off North Main Street in Columbia, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
The Richland County Coroner’s Office identified the child killed as Major Elliott Murphy, who was born June 19. Coroner Gary Watts said the boy died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries.
Authorities say the space heater was in the boy’s room.
The Columbia Fire Department is investigating the incident.
The house at 330 Penrose Drive, off North Main just north of I-20, was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters and deputies responded just after midnight Saturday morning, according to sheriff’s department spokesman Sgt. Kevin Lawrence.
Residents said everyone in the home escaped except the infant, Lawrence said. After firefighters with the Columbia Fire Department put out the fire, they found the body of the child. One person was transported to the hospital.
Four people were in the home at the time of the fire, according to Columbia Fire spokesman Brick Lewis. One person was awakened by the fire and tried to get everybody out, Lewis said. They tried to go back in for the child, but the fire was too heavy at that point, he said.
Investigators determined the fire was caused by combustible materials that were too close to a space heater, Lewis said. The fire caused an approximate $40,000 in damage.
This is the second fatal fire caused by a space heater in Columbia in the past two weeks.
Five other people died in two separate fires early Saturday in Greenville County and Spartanburg County.
To prevent fires caused by space heaters, the fire department recommends several tips:
Make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.
While the fire department does not recommend the use of space heaters, when they are used, they should be placed 3 feet or more from any combustible materials.
Do not leave a working space heater unattended.
Do not go to sleep with a space heater on.
The Associated Press contributed.