Officials: Girls died of smoke, soot inhalation

DULUTH - Officials on Monday said three sisters killed in a Friday night fire died of smoke and soot inhalation. An investigation into the fire's cause continues.

Ted Bailey, Chief Forensic Investigator with the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner's Office, identified the victims as Amirra Wingfield, 12, Dairien Wingfield, 17, and LaToya Jackson, 19.

The two younger siblings were pronounced dead shortly after the Friday night fire, and the eldest died the following evening.

Firefighters found the girls in a third-floor closet of their Home Park Road townhome in Duluth, where they likely had sought refuge, said Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge. Investigators have yet to determine what caused the fire, Rutledge said Monday.

The girl's mother, Estella, was with her children on the third story when a smoke alarm blared. She went to investigate, encountered smoke and escaped the fire by jumping off a second-story deck, authorities said.

A family member said the victims' father was en route home Saturday from Afghanistan, where he's serving in the Army.

Rutledge said the fire is believed to have started in a first-floor bedroom located beneath the kitchen.