Fire fatality rate in SC continues to grow

State - Regional

UNION, SC (WSPA) – The cause of a fire that killed two in Oconee County this weekend is still under investigation. The coroner has released a presumptive identification of the two victims. They were burned beyond recognition.

The woman was identified as Karen Denise Skeens, 51. She was the owner of the home.

The man was identified as Roger Thomas Connally, 55. He last lived at Schroeder St. in West Union and was known to visit Skeens, according to the coroner.

The coroner says further investigation will be conducted to establish positive identification along with cause and manner of death.

These two are not the first victims to house fires in South Carolina this year. In fact, just 15 days into the new year and the state already has 13 fire fatalities. Statistics show right now South Carolina is ranked second for 2018 on number of fire fatalities.

So fire departments across the state are sharing tips to help people stay safe.

“Make sure you have a working smoke alarm and if you do have one make sure you have a fresh battery in it. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and if you have gas fired appliances make sure to have a carbon monoxide alarm,” said Shane Gibbs, Oconee County Fire Marshal.

If you can’t afford a smoke detector, call your local fire department to find out if you are eligible to receive one for free or where to find one.

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