Two children die in county house fire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Flames shoot from a mobile home fire late Tuesday night that killed 5-year-old Cedric Ware and his 14-month-old brother, Dante. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

Two Warren County children died Tuesday night in a fire that quickly consumed a mobile home off U.S. 80.

The bodies of Cedric Ware, 5, and his 14-month-old brother, Dante, were found in a rear bedroom of the gutted home about a mile east of Beechwood. Cedric would have been 6 Dec. 28.

Their father, Don Bingham, 33, said he and their mother, Gloria Ware, had left their sons with Ware’s mother who lives in an adjacent mobile home around 8 p.m. When they returned, the doublewide mobile home they were preparing to move into themselves was already engulfed in flames.

“They weren’t supposed to be there,” Bingham said repeatedly as he watched the blaze from the grandmother’s home.

Bingham said he did not know how the children got into the house or why they were there.

The new mobile home was still being set up at 75 Brady Drive and was not being lived in by the family, Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said. Pace would not speculate about the cause of the fire, but said two electric space heaters were hooked up to extension cords in the home because of the cold weather.

“It’s too early in the investigation,” Pace said. “The state fire marshal has been called in to investigate.”

A neighbor, Jimmy Shorter, 39, said he saw the flames from his home on Short Jack Drive shortly after 10 p.m. Shorter said he ran up the hill to the home, but could not get through the flames.

“I tried to get in, but it was just too late,” Shorter said. “I knew the children were in there, but there was nothing I could do.”

Firefighters from Culkin and Bovina volunteer fire departments along with the Vicksburg rescue personnel responded to the call around 10:15 p.m. It was nearly two hours before the blaze was brought under control.

Warren County Coroner Ronald Regan said Tuesday morning the children likely died from smoke inhalation. No autopsy is planned.

Robbins Funeral Home has charge of the arrangements for Dante and Cedric.

The children were the second and third people to die in residential fires this week. On Monday morning, a fire that started in the kitchen of a Drummond Street home was fatal to Cletus Ruth Hadad, who was 74.

Leslie Decareaux, fire prevention coordinator for the Vicksburg Fire Department, said the Drummond Street fire probably started on the stove.

“Due to the total consumption of the fire we can’t tell exactly what happened,” she said.

Mrs. Hadad, who was confined to a wheelchair, was found in a bedroom. An autopsy confirmed she died from smoke inhalation.

Her funeral was Wednesday morning.