3-year-old who survived fatal fire that killed siblings now conscious

Telegraph staffFebruary 26, 2013 

Three-year-old J’lon Williams finally opened his eyes Tuesday. He’s been unconscious since Sunday.

“He knows something happened, but not exactly what happened,” Colethia Williams, the child’s mother, said as she sat at his bedside at a hospital in Augusta.

What happened is a fire broke out at their James Street house after midnight Sunday, killing his brother, Jamarrian, 9, and two sisters, Nykhiya, 10, and Daija, 7.

The state fire marshal’s office on Tuesday ruled the fire accidental.

Williams said she was able to get the child to wake up with her cellphone. “He likes to play games on it,” she said. She cued up one of his favorite games, put the phone up to his ear, “and that’s when he opened his eyes.”

Glenn Allen, a spokesman for the state fire marshal’s office, said “nothing suspicious was discovered” when investigators and an accelerant-sniffing dog went to the Macon house Tuesday morning.

Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, it’s possible that “we may never know what caused the fire,” he said.

Investigators still hope to speak with the Colethia Williams and J’Lon, whose condition was upgraded to fair Tuesday. His condition has been upgraded twice since he was taken to Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital of Augusta for treatment of smoke inhalation.

“He should be coming home tomorrow (Wednesday) or Thursday,” Colethia Williams said.

Results of autopsies performed Tuesday on the boy’s siblings were inconclusive. The GBI will perform additional lab tests to determine how the children died, said Leon Jones, Bibb County coroner.

Williams said officials told her the smoked killed them.

Jones said he expects the results to be returned in two to three months.

On Monday, the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department requested assistance from the state fire marshal’s office.

Allen said state fire investigators’ participation in the probe is over unless they’re asked for additional help.

Macon-Bibb County fire investigator Ben Gleaton said the fire department’s investigation is ongoing.

The company insuring the property also is participating in the investigation.

Macon police also are gathering evidence in the case.

A clerk at the Seven convenience store, located a little more than a half mile from the Williams’ house at the corner of Napier Avenue and Mumford Road, said police have visited the store to get a copy of their surveillance footage.

The clerk said he wasn’t working early Sunday morning when Colethia Williams came in. Williams has said she went to the store to get sinus medicine and was only gone for about 15 minutes.

Police were no longer parked in front of the house Tuesday afternoon. More balloons and stuffed animals in the front yard served as a memorial to the three children killed and J’lon.

Funeral service for the children will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Central Church of Christ on Key Street. A vigil is also planned for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Williams’ James Street house.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398. To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.

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