Woman, 68, found on porch with wheelchair in fatal Sumter house fire

71-year-old man being treated for burns on 90 percent of his body


A 68-year-old woman died and a 71-year-old man sustained burns to more than 90 percent of his body during an early morning house fire on Franklin Street Thursday morning.

Eva Harvin was found on the front porch as firefighters approached the house just after 1 a.m., Battalion Chief Joey Duggan said.

Firefighters moved Harvin to the yard where she was later pronounced dead at 1:48 a.m., according to Duggan and Sumter County Coroner Robbie Baker.

An autopsy will be scheduled in Newberry at a later date.

As far as first responders know, the woman was at least partially immobile and used a wheelchair which was also on the porch, Duggan said.

Without having an opportunity to speak to the surviving victim yet, the fire department does not know how the woman got on the porch.

The survivor — whose name has not been released — was found down the road from the residence, Duggan said.

The man was transported to Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, for treatment.

Duggan said he does not know the severity of the burns on the man's body but said the extent of the burns could make the injury life-threatening.

An update on his health was not available by Thursday morning.

The official cause of the fire is undetermined, but it originated in the attic near the heating and air unit, Duggan said.

However, fire investigators do not think the fire was caused by the heating and air unit, he said, and investigators do not think it was suspicious in nature.

He said there was heavy fire coming from the front of the house when firefighters arrived.

It took about 30 minutes to extinguish the house fire, and about $75,000 in damage was caused to the structure and contents, he said.

Headquarters, Alice Drive and Manning Road fire stations responded to the fire with about 16 firefighters.