Space heater being blamed for fire that killed Macon 2-year-old

A 2-year-old is dead and a 1-year-old remained in critical condition late Wednesday following a house fire in Macon’s Fort Hill neighborhood.

Fire officials said clothes near an electric space heater started the blaze at 611 Pringle St. that killed Amir Scott at about 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Imene Johnson is receiving treatment at The Medical Center of Central Georgia’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

The family of seven was awakened by smoke detectors and 10-year-old Akia Scott yelling “fire,” according to a Macon police report.

When Macon-Bibb County firefighters arrived at the burning home, flames were coming from Amir Scott’s bedroom in the front of the house, said District Chief J.R. Malcom. The parents, Shirley Scott and Duran Johnson, were safely outside with Akia and their other children — 6-year-old Ahric Johnson and 5-year-old Aniyah Scott.

Malcom said the parents were about to go back in the house for Amir and Imene when firefighters took over.

Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate Amir, who was already dead inside the front room where the fire started. When firefighters entered the house they heard a baby crying and found Imene suffering from smoke inhalation. The other children were treated for smoke inhalation. The parents were not hurt, he said.

The crime scene unit of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office gathered evidence at the scene after the fire was out and the house had cooled.

Macon-Bibb County fire investigator Capt. Tom Musselwhite said the space heater was in Amir’s room.

Amir’s bedroom door was closed and the room sustained heavy fire damage before flames tore through the door allowing smoke to reach the smoke detector, investigators said.

Macon-Bibb Fire Chief Marvin Riggins urged everyone to have working smoke detectors placed near bedrooms and where space heaters are used.

A collection is being planned at Burdell-Hunt Elementary School for items the family may need, including children’s clothing, said Chris Floore, Bibb County schools spokesman.

Two of the family’s children are enrolled at the school, located in the Fort Hill neighborhood.

For more information on items the family may need, call the school at 779-2950.

The American Red Cross also is providing assistance to the family.