Family friend of victim in deadly house fire says she was a mother to all

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) — A North Augusta woman is dead and her daughter is recovering after an early morning fire Wednesday.

It happened at their home on Seaborn Drive just after 3:00 a.m.

When firefighters arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames.

The home is now a total loss.

Family and friends say Blanche Merriweather died in the fire and her daughter made it out.

“My son called me and I said, ‘huh?’ I said, ‘this is not true!’ I said, ‘Bubba, what did you say?’ The next thing I know I was jumping up, because I live in Augusta, and I put my clothes on and I was just wide open trying to get here to be with the rest of my sisters,” family friend Debra Campbell said.

Campbell says she used to live on Seaborn Drive and spent a lot of time in the Merriweather home.

She and others in the neighborhood called Merriweather “Mama Blanche” because she was like a mother to everyone.

“She taught me so many things about life that makes me the woman I am today because she’s such a sweet, kind, loving, gentle, remarkable woman after God’s own heart. She never met a stranger. Everybody she met she loved so dearly,” Campbell said.

The South Carolina Arson Team was on scene Wednesday afternoon, however, Aiken County investigators say the state was asked to assist in the case.

The investigators add they don’t want to jump to any conclusions until all the facts are known.

Campbell says whatever is revealed in the end, she knows Mama Blanche is in a better place.

“It’s the comfort of knowing Christ Jesus. To know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So having a relationship with Christ, I find peace,” Campbell said.

The family, friends and the neighborhood are now sharing Mama Blanche’s wisdom to others.

“Just love each other each and every moment because tomorrow is so uncertain,” Campbell said.

Aiken County investigators tell NewsChannel 6 just because the arson team was on-site doesn’t mean arson is suspected.

As for Merriweather’s daughter, her family says she is expected to be okay.

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