CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - Family, friends and colleagues are still coming to grips with the devastating loss after a mother and her six children were killed in a Clinton house fire Saturday.
The State Fire Marshal determined that the fire was accidental and “electrical in nature.”
According to the findings, the fire started in the attic. It was also revealed that there were no working smoke alarms in the home.
“Without smoke alarms, there was no early detection and it may have prevented the victims from getting out in time,” said State Fire Marshall Mike Chaney.
Investigators also believe that the metal bars on the windows of the house also played a small role in the deaths.
“This is a tragic situation. The family of the victims have my sincere condolences,” said Chaney.
The mother, Brittany Presley, taught school at Reuben. B. Myers Canton School of Arts and Sciences. Her son also attended preschool there.
“We have been devastated,” said Principal Alphia Myers.
As you enter Ruben B. Myers Canton School of Arts and Science, white and purple ribbons serve as a reminder of a teacher and student who touched the lives of so many in a short time.
“The hardest thing for me is telling my babies. To tell them that their teacher will no longer be here physically with them. I tossed and turned how to break the news to them," Myers said.
The principal said that Brittany Presley had taught 2nd grade at the school for more than five years.
“She was such a loving and giving person and her heart is just tremendous.”
Teacher Cora Grayer and counselor Ivy Archie couldn't agree more. They worked alongside Presley and admired her work ethic and love for family.
To hear their co-worker and her six kids died in a house fire is still shocking.
“What hurts most is she cared for her children and it overflowed into the classroom. Whatever her students needed, she got it for them,” said Grayer.
“While the kids are hurting, we’re also hurting," said counselor Ivy Archie. “Mrs. Presley was a very big part of our family. To know that she’s gone and there’s nobody that can feel those shoes it is a tough loss.”
They say Presley’s little boy Malcolm also shined brightly in the classroom.
“Malcolm was a ball of energy. He had this smile that would light up any room,” said Myers.
The students and staff say they will now lean on each other for support.
“We’re going to remember her by planting a tree in her honor and each student will design a stone to plant in her honor, so that she will always be here with us,” said Myers.
The father of the home, and only survivor of the fire, was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation and burns.
His condition is currently unknown.