Local News

Girl killed in Chapel Hill apartment fire

Posted August 6, 2011 10:17 a.m. EDT
Updated August 6, 2011 11:41 p.m. EDT

— Seven-year-old Asiediya Clement died Saturday morning and five apartments were damaged in a fire at Kensington Trace apartments, a three-story building in Chapel Hill between Weaver Dairy Road and Interstate 40.

Asiediya, the only child of Sheryl Williams Clement and Gary Clement, was asleep in her second-floor bedroom around 7:30 a.m. when the fire began, family members said. Her parents were home but were unable to get to her in time.

When paramedics arrived at the scene, they rushed her to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, but it was too late.

Cynthia Williams, Asiediya's aunt, said the girl was autistic, but was as smart, active and silly as any other 7-year-old.

"She was my baby," Williams said. "She told me she loved her mom and she loved me too. Once she told me that I was the best and that's all I keep hearing her say at this time."

She added that the family is "devastated" by the loss.

Fire crews said the fire was sparked when a freezer on the back porch malfunctioned.

The total damage to the building was estimated at $600,000.

Lisa Edwards, a spokeswoman for the Chapel Hill Fire Department, said the Red Cross was helping the 11 residents who were displaced by the fire.

New Hope, Durham, Parkwood and Carrboro fire departments and the Orange County Emergency Management and South Orange Rescue teams assisted with the blaze.

Witnesses said that flames were visible punching through the roof.