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Mother, toddler killed in Selma apartment fire

Posted March 10, 2010

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— Emergency crews found a mother and her child dead after a Wednesday morning fire at Redwood Village Apartments, near U.S. Highway 301 in Selma, according to Fire Chief Phillip McDaniel.

The woman was identified as 21-year-old Jennifer Walker. The Selma Fire Department said she was found in the hallway of Apartment E. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mother, child found dead after Selma apartment fire Mother, child found dead after Selma apartment fire

Walker's child, 14-month-old Isaiah King, was found on a bed in a rear bedroom. Emergency workers tried CPR on the boy before transporting him to the Johnston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

“It appeared she was going down the hallway to get that child and probably was overcome with smoke,” McDaniel said.

The fire was reported around 4 a.m. and was contained in Apartment E on the second floor, McDaniel said.

An investigation has shown the fire was caused by discarded smoking materials on a couch in the front room. Firefighters found cigarette packs and stubs in makeshift ashtrays, such as cups. A cigarette was also found on the couch, McDaniel said.

“Maybe it’s a lesson for all of us, especially with smokers, to be careful where you discard that material,” McDaniel said.

Residents at the apartment said the Walker kept to herself and was going to school.

Residents said they banged on Walker's door to alert her to the fire and tried to break the door down, but no one ever responded.

The fire caused about $40,000 in structural damage, according to the Selma Fire Department.

The Red Cross is assisting three families who were also affected by the fire.

Selma Housing Authority, which managers Redwood Village Apartments, said there is a smoke detector and fire extinguisher in each unit. The units are checked every month.

McDaniel said the fire melted the smoke detector in the apartment, so there’s no way to tell if it was working at the time the fire broke out.


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  • watkinsvendella Mar 12, 2010

    I need help in getting to the truth behind the case of Jennifer and Kings death. I know its hard to understand this but God is in all situation. Evil people can say and do what they will, God is still in charge.

    I am the mother of this young lady and my name is Vendella Watkins. I live in Selma, 903 E Lizzie street, and know how it is to live in those apts. in Selma. Maybe God will help.

    We are very poor and people are very cruel. I have recieved some calls. I am very very sad, because no one seems to care. As I said Being poor is no help to the situation, but please keep me and Erik in your prayers. We grieve deeply.

  • Historian-the naked gardener Mar 10, 2010

    May God bless them and keep them......

  • Adelinthe Mar 10, 2010

    Praying for their loved ones.

    Smoking kills again. sigh

    God bless.


  • Groovy Mar 10, 2010

    Smoke outside please, especially if you have children. And I smoke but not anywhere indoors, ever. Lesson to all smokers.

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    It was apartment not a big house you would think she would hear that!!!

    Not if the smoke had over-come her. Do some real thinking will you. Thanks.

  • nhooks Mar 10, 2010

    I feel sorry for the family what a loss but it makes you think what state of mind or what she was on not to wake up when some one is banging on your door early in the a.m.It was apartment not a big house you would think she would hear that!!!

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    Did the young mother smoker? Was there someone else in the home that smoke, and left the unlit cigarette? People need to be really careful about leaving lit cigarettes around. Lit cigarettes can fall out of ash trays. Always check EVERYTHING before retiring to bed.

  • wildcat Mar 10, 2010

    This was horrible and a tragedy. My condolences and prayers to the family.

  • pattip574 Mar 10, 2010

    point noted.. my apologies..

  • Weetie Mar 10, 2010

    I know the Director of Selma Housing Authority...I am sure there was a Smoke Detector inside the apartment. However, some tenants are bad for "unhooking" or "unplugging" them so they don't go off. I sure hope this isn't the case here. Prayers are with the family and friends.