Gibsonville, NC -- Firefighters say the fire responsible for the death of two children was accidental. Deputy Director Mike Wright tells WFMY News 2 1-year-old Jade Hawks and 4-year-old Matthew Ridge-Poulos died when a space heater ignited in the living room.
Crews responded to the home at 5913 N.C. Highway 61 N. at 6:48 a.m. in response to a house fire. The caller reported seeing heavy flames coming from the home before crews made it to the scene.
Deputy Chief Mike Wright said firefighters learned that two children were trapped inside when crews made it to the house.
Wright said the children and their grandfather were sleeping in the home when the fire started Saturday. The children were sleeping in one room, and their grandfather was in another. The man woke up when he heard sounds from the flames and immediately tried to get the kids out of their room, but the flames were too big to reach the kids from the inside. So, Wright says, the grandfather went outside to try to get in another way.
Someone passing by the home saw the man trying to get in and attempted to help rescue the children, but the flames were still too large.
Once firefighters made it into the home, crews found Jade and Matthew dead inside. Their bodies were in the bed they shared.
The children's mother had not yet gotten home from work
Investigators say The house did not have a working smoke detector.
UPDATE: They now believe the fire was caused by a space heater placed too close to combustibles. They are sending the children's bodies to the state medical examiner for an autopsy.
Guilford Fire Department