Originally created 12/10/97

Three die in mobile home fire

VANCE, S.C. -- Orangeburg County officials said a woman, her son and her brother-in-law died here in a mobile home fire.

Cathryn Merye Cook, 29, David Wayne Connor, 33, and Nicholas Ryan Long, 4, died early Tuesday in the blaze, authorities said.

The cause of the fire was not determined, but investigators have not found any evidence of arson, Orangeburg County Sheriff James Johnson said.

County Fire Coordinator Gene Ball said the fire was reported shortly before 4 a.m. He said flames already were coming through the roof when a neighbor spotted the blaze.

The fire appeared to start in the living room, where the bodies of Cook and Connor were found, WIS-TV in Columbia reported. The child's body was found near the front door leading investigators to believe he had been trying to escape, the television station reported.

Ball said volunteers from Vance, Santee and Eutawville extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes.

About three hours later, firefighters near Easley battled another mobile home blaze that killed a 79-year-old man.

Claude Collins died, but his wife, Louise, escaped the blaze that authorities said started about 7 a.m.

Easley fire officials said the couple was trying to start a kerosene heater when the blaze broke out.

The State Law Enforcement Division was investigating both fires.


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