Mom gets probation for daughters' deaths in fire
Posted July 16, 2008
Lillington, N.C. — A Harnett County woman has been placed on probation after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a February mobile home fire that killed two of her daughters.
Echo Tonisha Simmons, 24, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of misdemeanor child abuse. She was sentenced to 16 to 19 months in prison, which was suspended, and she was placed on two years' probation and was ordered to perform community service.
Simmons' three daughters, all under 7, were alone in the family's home at the Overlook Mobile Home Park in Spout Springs on Feb. 14 when a candle and a piece of paper sparked a fire inside, authorities said.
Simmons had left the children home alone for a few minutes while she took her mother to her home about 2 miles away, authorities said. By the time she returned, the trailer was engulfed in flames.
Arianna Squires-Simmons, 3, and Kaliyah Simmons, 20 months, died in the fire. Janaya Squires, 6, escaped the fire and had to be restrained by neighbors as she tried to go back inside to save her sisters.