State News

S.C. College Students Died From Smoke Inhalation

Posted October 31, 2007 5:54 p.m. EDT
Updated November 1, 2007 12:25 p.m. EDT

— Seven college students killed in a weekend fire at a beach house died from smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning, the state's chief medical examiner said Wednesday.

"There was no evidence of any other injuries," Dr. John Butts said.

Butts said his office completed its examination of the victims on Tuesday, confirming their identifications through dental records.

Six students from the University of South Carolina and one student from Clemson University died in the fire in Ocean Isle Beach. Six USC students survived the fire, including one who escaped by jumping out of a window and into an adjacent canal.

Also on Wednesday, insurance adjusters fenced off the beach house after state investigators released the destroyed property to its owners. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith said the town considers the burned-out property unsafe to enter.

After the fence went up, the town pulled its police officer from the house. An officer had been posted in front of the structure since Sunday's fire.

The Ocean Isle Beach Chapel plans to hold a special service on Sunday in memory of the victims – Cassidy Fae Pendley, 18; Lauren Astrid Kristiana Mahon, 18; Justin Michael Anderson, 19; Travis Lane Cale, 19; Allison Walden, 18; William Rhea, 18; and Emily Lauren Yelton, 18.