Fatal Butts Co. house fire caused by electrical box; house had no smoke detectors

Mother severely burned, young sons killed in Butts Co. fire

JACKSON, GA. - Fire officials said an electrical box that shorted out is the cause of a blaze that claimed the lives of two small children and sent their mother to the hospital, clinging to life.

Alicia Crowder still does not know that two of her boys, 4-year-old Greyson Crowder and 2-year-old Stephen Bland, died in a Friday house fire in Jackson, Ga.

Little Stephen would have turned three next Tuesday.

Officials said Crowder did everything she could to save them.

Crowder remains at Grady Memorial Hospital's burn unit in downtown, where she was taken via Life Flight on Friday. 

“The kids were very sweet, lovable kids,” said family member Louvenia Jackson. “It’s always sad to lose a child, to lose a love one. So we’re just praying for the mom, dad and the family.”

“We made an interior attack through the back bedroom,” said Jackson Fire Chief Harvey Norris. “After we couldn't find them, we focused on putting the rest of the fire under control.”

Norris said the house didn’t have any smoke detectors. During a spot check, Norris said a previous tenant told investigators the residence had them.

Crowder lived at the Valley Road home with her mother, sister and five children, the oldest of which, ages 5 through 8, weren’t home at the time.

“An electrical outlet box shorted out and it burned,” Norris said. “It probably smoldered for two or three days until it got enough fire, heat and oxygen to get started.”

Despite the raging fire, Jackson Fire Chief Harvey Norris said Alicia tried to save the children.

“The mother escaped, then tried to go back and get the children out but was not able to,” he said. “She was burned 30 to 40 percent of her body.”

The city of Jackson has never had a child die in a fire. Now they have two.

“It is tough on the guys but this is what we do for a living,” the chief said.

In a town where so many people know each other, Chief Norris said it’s that much more difficult to come to terms with this loss.

The family says there will be a birthday party-slash-vigil in the driveway of the family's home at 131 Valley Road in Jackson at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

The family lost everything in the fire. A GoFundMe page has been established for the family. They are asking for donations for the surviving children: sister London, age 8, brother Stevie Jr., age 7, and brother Austyn, age 5. 

The family is in need of funds for medical and funeral expenses as well as everyday needs for the surviving children.

© 2018 WXIA-TV


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