Kids narrowly escape fire

Published 12:05 am Friday, June 29, 2012


A group of Harmony Community children, left home alone, narrowly escaped a house fire Thursday morning, and now, their caregiver is facing criminal charges.

Drug Task Force Comm-ander Mark Odom said when deputies arrived at the fully- engulfed mobile home on Old Drag Strip Road, and there were reports of children trapped inside the home.

“Thankfully, that was not the case,” Odom said. “All of the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, were able to escape. After talking with them, it was discovered that they were left at home by the home owner, Sara Butler Patterson.”

Odom said the children told officers that Patterson had placed the 14-year-old “in charge” and left in the early morning hours with two minors.


It is believed that five children lived inside the home and at least three children were there at the time when the fire started. Patterson’s relationship to the children was not immediately clear.

Shortly after lunch, agents were able to obtain a search warrant for the property and were beginning the investigation behind not only the blaze, but also how and why the children were left home alone.

As of press time, DTF agents, along with CCSO deputies, the district attorney’s office investigators, Andalusia Police Department officers and the Alabama Fire Marshal were still working the scene and conducting interviews.

Patterson, 32, is currently being held in the Covington County Jail on a $170,000 bond; however, additional charges are pending.

Odom would not comment as to why the Drug Task Force is investigating the case or any other circumstances involving the fire.

“This was almost a very tragic situation,” Odom said. “I don’t want to say anything right now to jeopardize our investigation, but rest assured, we are going to turn over every rock until we know exactly what was going on.”