Georgia man dies trying to save child from fire

BAXLEY — An Appling County man died in a house fire Tuesday while trying to save a child in the burning home.

According to the state fire insurance commissioner’s office, the Appling County Fire Dept. responded to a residential fire off of Ed Carter Road in Baxley at 11:50 p.m. on Dec. 3. When emergency firefighters made their way inside the home, they discovered the body of 44-year-old Derwon M. Wilkerson in one of the bedrooms.

“It is believed that the two adults woke up to the fire and were unable to get to a juvenile on the other side of the home. They quickly escaped through a window and Mr. Wilkerson re-entered the structure through a window in the juvenile’s bedroom,” said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King. “He was able to assist in getting the juvenile out of the home, but unfortunately became trapped during this heroic effort.”

The single-wide, two-bedroom mobile home was completely destroyed by the blaze. The cause of this fire is still being investigated, but initial reports indicate the fire started in the area of the kitchen and living room.

The body of the deceased was turned over to the local Coroner’s Office, where an autopsy is set to be performed. Two other occupants, including one juvenile, were also injured in the fire. The injured adult received treatment at a local hospital, but the juvenile was flown to the Augusta Burn Center to be treated for severe burns.

Investigators with the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office are assisting the Appling County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, and Coroner’s Office with this investigation.

In 2019, fires have claimed the lives of 88 people in Georgia.

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