Weekend fire kills two children

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 7, 2003

A fire in Selmont early Monday morning left two children dead and their mother critically injured.

According to the state fire marshall’s office, Shannon Williams, 8, and Lamaron Williams, 5, were killed by the fire at Hidden Acres Mobile Home Community at 4915 US Highway 80 East Lot 11-A.

Their mother, Shawnia Williams, 24, is in critical condition at The University of Alabama Birmingham Burn Center.

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The fire marshall’s office said that Williams has burns to 67 percent of her body.

Williams’ two other children and one adult escaped from the blaze uninjured.

Jacqueline Harville, certified nursing assistant and neighbor of Williams, said that she was first alerted to the fire by Williams’ screams.

“I heard her screaming: ‘help, help, help,'” Harville said.

Harville also said that Williams ran over to her home and began beating on the windows and door trying to find assistance. She added that Williams said her babies were in the burning home.

First, Harville said, she called the fire department and then the paramedics.

Harville, a daycare provider, said that she cared for Williams’ two youngest children in her home while Williams sat on the front porch. Harville also said that she thought Williams might go into shock so she talked to her, but didn’t bring her inside for fear it would aggravate her already severe burns.

Lester Harville, husband of Jacqueline Harville, said that one of the bystanders threw a chair through the window of Williams’ home in an effort to get inside and save the two children within, but added that it just fanned the flames.

Lester Harville said that it took 20 to 30 minutes for fire trucks to arrive at the scene. He added that it took them about 25 minutes for them to get the fire under control.

According to the fire marshall’s office, the fire was reported at 12:47 a.m. after it was discovered by occupants of the single wide mobile home. The Selma Fire Department and Craig Hill Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call.

The fire marshall’s office added that the fire started in one of the bedrooms. The cause of the fire seemed to be combustibles being too close to an electric space heater.

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said that Williams was washing her clothes and watching television when she saw “something” and realized her home was on fire.

Huffman said that one child was in the living room and three were in a back bedroom. He added that Williams managed to rescue one child from the bedroom and the one in the living room, but couldn’t get back to the other two.

“If you’re using electrical heaters, don’t leave them unattended,” Huffman said. “Don’t leave them on all night long.”