3-year-old dies in Monday fire; great aunt hospitalized

Firefighters and first responders battle a Hillsboro mobile home fire, which claimed the life of 3-year-old Samuel Blasingame Monday morning. 

A mobile home fire claimed the life of a 3-year-old boy Monday morning and left his great aunt hospitalized.

Lawrence County Coroner Scott Norwood identified the boy as Samuel C. Blasingame, of 2020 Woodmead Street S.W. in Decatur. The young boy died of cardiac arrest at 9:30 that morning after arriving at the Lawrence Medical Center Emergency Room, according to Norwood's report. 

Norwood said the fire appeared to have begun around 8:20 a.m. in the mobile home at 5801 County Road 170 in Trinity, east of County Road 217 in Hillsboro. He said the boy's great aunt, who Norwood believed was a resident of the home, was inside the trailer at the time of the fire. 

She was transported by ambulance to Lawrence Medical Center and later airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. Norwood did not disclose her identity and could not comment on her condition. 

Norwood said the boy was sent to the state forensics lab in Huntsville for an autopsy.

"There isn't anything suspicious, but an autopsy is standard protocol in events like this," he said Monday evening. 

Norwood said the fire is still under investigation by the state fire marshal's office. 

"The cause of the fire is undetermined as of now," said Jennifer Bowen, a spokesperson for the fire marshal's office in Montgomery. 

Neighbors Lillie Gillespie and Benna Gillespie said the house burned quickly. 

"The whole trailer was engulfed when I got outside," Lillie Gillespie said. "It was so hot. Something inside then exploded and the windows and entire trailer flexed. If I could have helped, I would have. It was just hot we couldn't get near it."

Benna Gillespie, who lives a few houses to the east, said she could see the fire from her house. "I saw it was red with fire. We gave the family water and clothes. It was so sad."

Lillie Gillespie said the little boy spent plenty of time at the trailer with relatives. 

"He played over here all of the time with our children," she said. "I remember they were playing in the treehouse out back and he must have slightly hurt his arm somehow. He just laughed it off... I do know his favorite word was 'why?'"

The Gillespies said the family lived in the trailer about six months and at times there were as many as seven family members there.

"You never think anything like that can happen," Lillie Gillespie said. "You're not promised anything five minutes from now. Life is so precious."

Chalybeate Fire and Rescue Capt. Jonas Hobbs said 16 firefighters from four area departments battled the blaze. 

"It was fully involved when (Chalybeate Fire unit) arrived," he said. "It's a very tragic loss for the families and the community."

Other agencies assisting the scene Monday were Moulton Fire and Rescue, Caddo/Midway Volunteer Fire Department, Hillsboro Volunteer Fire Department, the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. 

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