Deadly Aiken fire ruled accidental, with cause still unclear

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 3:36 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 3:38 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A deadly Aiken fire that claimed the life of a resident on Sunday has been ruled accidental but deputies are still looking into what caused it.

At 4:57 p.m., the responders rushed to the scene of s structure fire in the 100 block of Whispering Pines Terrace in Aiken.

A complainant told the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office she left the residence to meet her nephew and once she returned, she smelled smoke and observed the house was filling up with smoke, a Sheriff’s Office incident report states.

A witness reported he was able to run into the smoking house and found the victim, identified as 65-year-old James West, laying in the door way of the back bedroom away from where the fire had started.

The witness was able to get West out of the house but he was unconscious and not breathing when authorities arrived on scene.

Officers attempted CPR on scene but West was taken to Aiken Regional Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

The Aiken County Coroner’s Office reports an autopsy will be conducted in Newberry.

Although the fire is ruled accidental, the cause of the fire is still unclear. The Aiken County Coroner’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office are continuing to investigate the incident.

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