Fire investigators spent Wednesday looking for answers in a deadly fire that claimed the lives of two disabled men in Villa Rica. Authorities from the state joined Carroll County investigators at the scene, but family members of the victims say so far they have more questions than answers about what sparked the fire.
Authorities have not confirmed the identities of the victims, but family members say 50-year-old Michael Todd was one of the two men killed. They tell FOX 5 he had lived at the 24-hour assisted living home on Thomas Dorsey Drive with a childhood friend for about two years. Ironically, they say he survived a horrible fire as a baby that left him severely disfigured and disabled. That makes the fire that claimed his life even more difficult for the family to bear.
According to investigators, the fire started at one home and then spread to another adjacent home. Neighbors say flames spread quickly, and they watched helplessly knowing that the two disabled men were still inside. They also said the caregiver from the home was hysterical as she ran from the blaze.
A spokesperson with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability said the home was a group home--one of the Hope House locations, which gets state and Medicaid money to operate. It had been operating as an assisted living facility for the last five years, and ironically, state records show that they just held a fire drill with the two men living there a few weeks ago.
Todd's cousin said Tuesday night that she had spoken to the caretaker, and that she did the best she could to save her cousin. Todd's sister told FOX 5 that she's frustrated because she had to find out from a friend that her brother is dead.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was expected to perform autopsies on the victims some time on Wednesday. There's no word yet on the cause of the fire.