Cause of Athens fire that killed 3 family members remains unknown


By Joe Johnson

An Athens mobile home fire last month that killed three family members was so devastating that investigators have been unable to determine the fire’s cause, according to the Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department.

The Jan. 27 fire at Hallmark Estates Mobile Home Park was believed to have begun in a bedroom, but the trailer was so completely destroyed that “due to the lack of physical evidence, fire investigators have classified the fire’s cause as undetermined,” according to a news release issued late Thursday afternoon by ACCFESD.

“Investigators have performed scene examinations, conducted interviews, and collaborated with the GBI Crime Lab and have found no evidence of foul play in the fire’s cause,” according to the release.

Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson identified the victims as Mariah Fields, 9, her mother Penyada Fields, 35 and her grandmother, Penny Fields, 52.

The only survivor of the fire was Penyada’s 12-year-old son, Taeden Johnson, who ran to a neighbor’s home to get help prior after the fire broke out in the early morning hours.

A fire official said the boy was treated at the hospital for burns to the shoulder and smoke inhalation.

According to the coroner, another of Penyada Fields’ children, a 15-year-old girl, spent the night of the fire at a relative’s home.

A GoFundMe account has been established for Taeden Johnson by his mentor, Zac Hendrix.