Officials: 1 person dead after fire in Lancaster

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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LANCASTER, S.C. - A man's body was found inside a burning Lancaster County home Friday afternoon. Authorities believe it was the body of the 64-year-old man who lived there alone.

Family members said James Robinson lived in the brick house on South Potter Road east of Lancaster.
Neighbors called 911 around noon when they saw flames shooting up from Robinson's roof.

The coroner said the body was found just inside the house, only a few steps from the front door. The body was not identifiable according to the coroner.

"He was my big brother. He took care of us when we were younger," said brother William Brevard.

Several family members stood outside the burned-out home Friday as investigators poured over what's left of it -- a shell, with a missing roof.

Other loved ones were on their way up from Atlanta, changing last-minute holiday plans to deal with a tragic loss.

"We're just in shock right now," said Robinson's nephew Tony Pate. "We don't really know how to react."

Robinson was a retired truck driver. He had just attended a church function with his brother two days ago, and was looking forward to Christmas.

"It's hard. I've got a sister in Atlanta, and she's devastated," Brevard said. "All we know is the house caught fire."

Though investigators had not released an official cause of the fire late Friday, Lancaster County coroner Mike Morris said it appeared accidental, and could possibly be a kitchen fire.

Family members had heard the same.

"I think he was cooking something on the stove," Brevard said.

The body will be taken for autopsy, and identification. Morris also told Channel 9 that Robinson had just been at the hospital last week, and he wanted information about that visit, and any potential health problems that might have played a role.