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Fire that killed child in Winder ruled accidental

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

The remains of a house destroyed by fire on Matthew School Road in Winder

By Joe Johnson

A house fire that killed an 8-year-old Winder girl in was determined to have been accidentally caused.

Kairi Vongtonthip Thao was asleep in a back room of her home in the 100 block of Matthew School early Friday morning when a fire was apparently sparked by an overloaded electrical circuit on the front porch, according to Capt. Scott Dakin, public information officer for Barrow County Emergency Services.

"Due to the type of construction and conditions in the home (the fire)spread rapidly," Dakin said.

"All formulated hypothesis during the investigation have been ruled out with the exception of an electrical failure due to the possibility of an overloaded electrical circuit causing residual heating within the electrical system."

Several adults managed to escape the resulting inferno, and they told arriving firefighters that Kairi

was still inside, but by the time they found the girl and pulled her out through a bedroom window it was too late.

She died despite the efforts of fire and EMS personnel who provided prompt emergency medical attention.

Two adults were injured by the fire, including Kairi's grandfather who incurred critical injuries.

Friends of the family set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the Kairi's funeral expenses, her grandfather’s medical bills and to help them recover from the fire.

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