911 call released after deadly fire, but questions remain

News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- Two days later, the crime scene tape is still up. Below it, a small bouquet of flowers marks the charred home where three people died.

Diane Warren, 65, Calvin Warren, 62, Helen Williams, 89, are the victims in the house fire on the 2200 block of Edgefield Highway around 2:10 AM on Tuesday.

Autopsy results show the victims from Tuesday's fatal fire died from carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal injury, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said.

An autopsy shows the manner of death is to be ruled accidental, according to the coroner.

"I think around like 1:45 or so I heard like a loud popping noise. Like it sounded as if somebody was shooting a gun off outside my bedroom window," says neighbor Rachel Murdock.

She says the fire started behind the home in a garage holding two cars. Murdock later found out the 'pops' were the gas tanks of the two vehicles exploding.

Even though investigators now say there was no evidence of foul play, Murdock is still a skeptic.

In a newly released 911 call recording, family member Travis Robinson calls in the fire early Tuesday morning.

"My house on fire!" Robinson repeats over and over to the Aiken County dispatcher who seems to have trouble getting Robinson to answer her questions.

Robinson was later taken to the Aiken County Sheriff's Office for questioning when firefighters found him on the scene standing next to the burning home.

"Well, listening to the tape, it does sound like he is slurring his words, so as far as his condition, it is similar to someone being intoxicated through my own experience," says Captain Eric Abdullah with the Sheriff's Office.

In the tape, the man originally gives the wrong address to the dispatcher. He tells the dispatcher two times the fire was on Edgefield Avenue, which is in the City of Aiken. Once the dispatcher transfers the call to the Aiken Department of Public Safety, Robinson tells the dispatcher that the fire is actually on Edgefield Highway.

But the confusion didn't end there.

Robinson tells the dispatcher he wasn't sure if anyone was inside the home. Finally, Robinson says his child may be in the home. Captain Abdullah tells us there were no children inside the Edgefield Highway home.

Captain Abdullah says the fire is still an ongoing investigation, but there was and currently is no evidence suggesting anything suspicious, he says.

News 12 couldn't reach the 911 caller but did talk to his girlfriend. She says he stays at that home on Edgefield Highway. She wasn't sure if he drove up and found the fire or if he was on-scene when the fire started. The Sheriff's Office couldn't answer that question either.

Ultimately, there's still no word on what caused that fire. Meanwhile, the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) continue to process evidence they collected at the scene.

To listen to the complete 911 call, click here.


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