6-year-old dies, sister in critical condition after Columbia area apartment fire

Columbia-Richland Fire Department said the cause of the fire was a device plugged into a living room outlet.
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Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 1:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Coroner’s Office reported an unattended 6-year-old boy, Nathan Archie, died after a Columbia area apartment fire. His 9-year-old sister is in critical condition, according to Coroner Naida Rutherford.

Rutherford didn’t confirm where the parents were at the time of the fire, but she said a criminal investigation is ongoing.

According to a Richland County School District One spokesperson, Nathan was a student at Caughman Road Elementary, along with his sister.

The district released the following statement Thursday:

“The Richland One family is grieving the loss of one of our youngest students. Nathan Archie, who was a kindergartner at Caughman Road Elementary School, died Wednesday (April 5, 2023) from injuries he sustained in a fire at the apartment building where he lived. We extend our condolences to Nathan’s family, and we ask everyone to join us in keeping them and the students and staff at Caughman Road in your thoughts and prayers. We are also praying for Nathan’s sister, a fourth-grade student at Caughman Road, who remains hospitalized. Our District Crisis Team was at the school today to provide support and counseling to students and staff as needed, and the team will return tomorrow to provide additional assistance.”

RELATED COVERAGE: Several people rescued as Columbia firefighters fight apartment complex fire

Columbia-Richland Fire Department Chief Aubrey Jenkins said there was significant damage done to the Whispering Pines apartment complex. The cause of the fire was a device plugged into an outlet behind the couch in a living room of an apartment, according to Jenkins.

Jenkins added 12 people were displaced due to the fire and the cost of what was damaged in the fire is still being determined.

There are eight apartments in the building, but only seven were occupied. The Red Cross is helping all of the displaced tenants.

“I’m not sure if the smoke alarms were activated or not, or rather, they work,” said Jenkins. “I don’t think we heard any smoke alarms. So that’s kind of one thing we are looking in as well.”

Previous coverage:

Columbia-Richland Fire Department and Richland County Coroner’s Office are holding a joint press conference on the Whispering Pines apartment fire.

The Columbia-Richland Fire Department responded to the fire on Greenlawn Drive around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday night.

Firefighters said several people had to be rescued.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

You can watch the press conference on our YouTube page.

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