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West Main fire leaves 3 critical
Victims airlifted to Augusta burn center; Melton: Space heater may be cause of fire
021610 W MAIN ST FIRE 03 web
A Statesboro firefighter walks past a pile of children's toys in front of a West Main Street home where three were injured in a house fire Tuesday.

A space heater may have caused a house fire Tuesday that resulted in a woman and two small children suffering third degree burns.
    The three victims of a house fire Tuesday morning were airlifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta and are listed in critical condition, said Statesboro Fire investigator Capt. Emerson Melton.
    Cierra Mincey, 19, and two babies, ages 18 months and two years, were severely burned, he said. It was not clear Tuesday whether Mincey was the mother of the children.
    The three were first transported by EMS to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, then flown by Life Star helicopter to the Augusta burn center, he said. 
    Bulloch County Central 911 dispatched Statesboro firefighters and police to 218 West Main Street, the residence of James Russell Mincey Sr., around 9:40 a.m. Tuesday, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn. Officers blocked the street on both ends away from the blaze as neighbors gathered, fearing for the safety of occupants inside.
    At first, it was believed that some of the house's tenants were unaccounted for, said Gary Allen, press secretary for Georgia's Fire and Safety Insurance Commissioner John W. Oxendine's office. Preliminary reports were that at least two were unaccounted for, but Melton said later Tuesday afternoon that the information was incorrect.
    Although 10 people lived in the wood frame house with a tin roof, it is believed that only four were inside when the fire began, he said. An 8-year-old boy is believed to have run from the burning house to his uncle's home nearby, but Melton said Tuesday afternoon he was still trying to locate the child for questioning.
    Melton said contacting other tenants of the house was difficult Tuesday because everyone was in Augusta at the hospital.
    Preliminary reports indicate the fire was accidental, he said, adding that although the case remains under investigation, it is believed the fire started near a space heater close to a couch and some clothing in the living room. There is "nothing suspicious" about the fire, he said.
    As firefighters battled the blaze Tuesday, smoke billowed out from underneath the scorched tin roof and neighbors stood nearby, horrified at the news of the injuries. Police officers kept bystanders at a distance and escorted reporters and photographers closer to the scene. A child's plastic playground gym set stood near the sidewalk in front of the house.
    Melton said firefighters worked until after noon trying to douse the flames. Investigators did not leave the scene until after 4 p.m., he said.
    More information will be released pending further investigation, he said.
    Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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