Crime & Courts

Man found dead at house fire in Harbison area, Richland County coroner says

A man was found dead Wednesday at an early morning house fire in the Harbison area of Columbia, the Richland County Coroner’s Office said.

Coroner Gary Watts identified the victim as 50-year-old Tracy Roberts.

At about 5:15 a.m., a structure fire was reported at 47 Westgrove Court, said Mike DeSumma, a spokesman for the Columbia Fire Department. That is near the intersection of Harbison Boulevard and Broad River Road.

Roberts was found in his bedroom. It was filled with smoke from the smoldering fire, Watts said. An autopsy indicated that Roberts died at the scene from smoke inhalation.

Two other people were in the home at the time of the fire, but no injuries were reported, other than the fatality, Richland County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Maria Yturria said in an interview with The State.

After seeing a fire at the home, a neighbor called 911, Yturria said.

The fire was put out by 6:30 a.m., and there was no major damage to the home, according to DeSumma.

It is too early to tell what caused the fire, which is being investigated by the sheriff’s department, the coroner’s office and the Richland County Fire Marshal.


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Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State focused on breaking news, public safety and trending news. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.