Investigators find cause of fire that killed 10-year old

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2022 at 3:22 PM EDT
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It was an electrical fire that killed a 10-year-old boy and sent a house up in flames in Martinez on May 31, state investigators have ruled.

State officials said Monday afternoon they had just completed the investigation and ruled the fire electrical in nature.

The fire at 214 Sarah Creek Court broke the community’s heart when it killed 10-year-old Nicolas Mai just a couple of days ahead of his 11th birthday. Another child in the home made it out.

The state report is the latest one on the fire. Another one weeks ago from Columbia County Fire Rescue detailed the problems in fighting the blaze that left little of the house.

That report stated that “dispatch confirmed this would be a fully involved structure with entrapment. While en route, a large column of heavy black smoke could be seen from miles away.”

The flames had spread to a nearby home when crews arrived.


“Upon the arrival of the first responding units, we encountered two working structure fires. The first structure (214 Sarah Creek Ct.) was fully involved with no roof structure and a large collapsed area,” the report states. “The B side of the structure, where the electrical power meter was located, was arcing. The second structure (212 Sarah Creek Ct.) was heavily involved on the C and D sides of the structure with a partial roof collapse. A third structure (210 Sarah Creek Ct.) had received damage to the siding on the D side.”

A witness told crews they had pulled one occupant from the first structure, but there was still one occupant last known to be in the front room, according to the report.

“A Columbia County Sheriff’s (CCSO) deputy advised that he had removed two children from the 210 Sarah Creek Ct. residence,” the report states. “They were not harmed and were in his patrol car.”

The report continues: “Fire crews could not enter the first structure due to the heavy fire load and the live, energized, and arcing electrical meter. The meter base had melted and could not be disconnected. Georgia Power was called to the scene to disconnect the power at the transformer.”

Fire crews established two water supplies and ultimately knocked down the fire.

“Fire crews entered the first structure immediately after Georgia Power disconnected the electrical power. Fire crews entered the structure and found the victim in the middle of the first floor,” according to the report. “Fire crews removed the victim and carried the victim out of the structure. Gold Cross EMS and an ER Doctor from Augusta University rendered care and transport.”

Nicolas didn’t survive.

The report largely matches what a deputy described in a report that was released last week.


At South Columbia Elementary, classmates and others remember Nicolas Mai on his birthday, two days after he died in a house fire.

After arriving to help firefighters, the deputy found the home at 214 Sarah Court to be burning too fiercely to get inside.

And the home next door at 212 Sarah Creek Court was already on fire, so “myself and bystanders kicked in the front door and made entry to the residence,” the deputy wrote in the report.

The deputy was unable to go very far into the residence due to the amount of fire and smoke. No one at that home responded to shouts, so the deputy left that home and went to another one nearby that was threatened.

“Due to the fire at 212 Sarah Creek Ct beginning to catch 210 Sarah Creek Ct on fire I and Columbia County Marshall David Willis made entry to the residence and found two kids to be in the residence,” the deputy wrote. “I escorted the juveniles out to my car away from the fire. I had parents for the juveniles respond and take custody of the children.”

This was the scene of a fatal fire on Sarah Creek Court in Martinez.
This was the scene of a fatal fire on Sarah Creek Court in Martinez.(Contributed)

But back at 214 Sarah Court – the home the deputy wasn’t able to get into – Nicolas was still inside. At some point during the episode, Nicolas’ 11-year-old cousin came running out the front door.

In an effort to save Nicolas, one man jumped over the back fence trying to get into the home. Ultimately, it was firefighters who found him.

Nicolas Mai
Nicolas Mai(Contributed)

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