Camper fire kills 2 children of ‘struggling’ Georgia family

Camper fire kills 2 children of 'struggling' Georgia family

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — After their mobile home burned last year, the best Michael Reeves and Chassity Carter could do was to park a camper trailer on the same lot in coastal Georgia and make it their new home.

Now hardship has become sheer tragedy for Reeves and Carter. Less than a year after their mobile home burned, another fire Wednesday ravaged the camper the family had been living in, killing two of their children — 3-year-old Blayden Wade Reeves and his 4-month-old sister, Tallie Ann Carter. Chassity Carter and 2-year-old Brighton Michael Reeves were hospitalized in critical condition.

After searching the camper’s charred remains Thursday, investigators determined the deadly blaze likely stated as an accidental cooking fire.

“There was a pot of noodles left on a hot plate on a countertop that was the cause of the fire,” Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering told reporters at a news conference.

Neighbours knew the young couple had a hard time making ends meet, said Danny O’Neal, who lives around the corner. So they would give Reeves and Carter food as well as bags of donated clothing for their three young children. O’Neal said he would offer Reeves scrap metal he could sell for cash and gave him a mattress for the camper.

“They have been struggling and struggling,” O’Neal said Thursday from his front porch just outside the port city of Brunswick, about 70 miles south of Savannah. He could hardly talk about the day before, when he ran outside to the sound of his neighbours screaming for their children.

A police officer dispatched to the scene, Eric Koenig, filed a report saying he found Michael Reeves “screaming and rolling around” in the street outside the burning camper where he lived. Chassity Carter was in a roadside ditch with burns on her arms and legs, the report said.

O’Neal said he could hear the couple outside wailing.

“I heard the worst screams you could ever hear between him and her, about their children being inside,” he said.

Neighbours reported hearing explosions during the fire and it’s possible flames detonated some items inside the camper, Glynn County Fire Chief Randy Jordan said.

“That could be easily aerosol cans that make a loud noise and increase the fireball,” Jordan said.

Doering said police were initially suspicious because the family’s mobile home had been badly damaged by a fire last May. But he said there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the fire at the camper.

“It was a travel trailer, which is unusual for a family to be living in,” Doering said. “It’s not designed for that, especially for a family of five.”

Russ Bynum, The Associated Press

Just Posted

JoeAnna’s House fundraising campaign reaches $4.5 million

Offering ‘home away from home’ for families of KGH patients

2014 murder case finally goes to trial

Steven Randy Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in 2016

Flood recovery work set to begin in Kelowna

The first phase of $5 million dollar flood recovery plan for Upper Vernon Creek will begin on Monday

Kelowna exhibition showcases nature of Haida Gwaii

The Kelowna Art Gallery is holding a reception for Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites Friday

Accused in Kelowna murder heads to court

Chad Alphonse is accused of killing Waylon Percy Junior Jackson, back in 2016

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Dube, Foote pace Rockets to O.T. win

World junior gold medalists key in 4-3 victory Wednesday over Lethbridge

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Public asked to report bat sightings

White nose syndrome leads to bats flying in winter or death.

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Song penned for Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Curling Time released to celebrate Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

Most Read