Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher’s office has identified the victim of a fatal fire that occurred on Christmas Eve in southern Lexington County. The fire was off Gardners Terrace Road close the town of Gaston and the SC State Farmer’s Market.
Fisher’s staff released her statement just after midnight Christmas morning. In that release, Coroner Fisher said despite the heroic efforts of Lexington County firefighters and other first responders, a man who lived in the house that had to be rescued, has died. She identified that person as Stanley Gonzalez Cook, a 51-year-old resident of the home.
When the home caught fire, Cook did not escape. Corner Fisher did not say if there was a reason he was unable to do so. Lexington County firefighters arrived on the scene quickly accompanied by personnel from the county’s EMS division. Deputies from the Lexington County Sheriff's Department were on the scene assisting as well. The firefighters, knowing from others on the scene that Cook had not made it outside, immediately began to search the burning house. People on the scene helped by telling them where he might be inside the home. Once they located Cook, they quickly removed him from the structure where firefighters and the Lexington EMS crews began attempts to resuscitate him. Sadly, their efforts were unsuccessful.
One firefighter was slightly inured during the firefight according to Lexington County.
Coroner Fisher said that an autopsy will be performed. She also said because the fire was fatal, expert investigators from the SC Law Enforcement Division are assisting in determining what happened.
Although no one has yet said if the home had working smoke detectors, all homes or indoor places where people live and sleep should. If you don’t have these, the Lexington County Department of Public Safety’s Fire Prevention Division will install those for you for free. They will also test and change the batteries in existing ones if necessary. There is an easy to fill out form on the County’s website to request this service. It can be found by clicking on this LINK. If you do not have a device that will allow you to electronically fill out forms, you can simply call the fire service’s fire marshal’s office at (803) 785-8145.