Fire investigators: Man dies trying to save child from burning mobile home

State officials are investigating a deadly mobile home fire in a rural Georgia county where a 44-year-old man was killed trying to save a trapped child.

The fire happened around 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday at a home along Ed Carter Road near Baxley. Appling County firefighters said they found the body of 44-year-old Derwon M. Wilkerson in one of the bedrooms.

The two-bedroom mobile home was destroyed in the blaze. The cause is still under investigation, but it is believed to have started in the kitchen or living room area.

An autopsy will be performed on Wilkerson’s body to determine the cause of death.

An adult and child, who were inside at the time, were able to escape. The child was flown to the Augusta Burn Center to be treated for severe burns. The adult was treated at an area hospital.

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

Deadly fires have claimed the lives of 88 Georgians so far in 2019.