Fire that killed infant ruled accident

LAWRENCEVILLE — A Saturday night fire that killed an infant boy has been ruled an accident, after an autopsy showed the child died of smoke and soot inhalation, officials said Tuesday.

Ted Bailey, Chief Forensic Investigator with the Gwinnett Medical Examiner’s Office, identified the child as Leland Parks. An autopsy showed the child died from breathing smoke and soot.

Based on those findings, fire investigators have officially ruled the fire an accident. The blaze is believe to have originated near the home’s living room, said Fire Department spokesman Lt. Eric Eberly.

The child’s mother, Sharon Parks, 25, and father, Ronald Parks, 34, were transported to Doctors Hospital of Augusta where they remained earlier this week. An update on their conditions was not available.

The fire destroyed the one-story Main Street home near downtown Duluth where a total of seven family members lived. Three others in the home at the time — the Parks’ 2-year-old daughter, 4-year-old son and a 22-year-old relative — escaped without injury, officials said.

The American Red Cross is assisting the family with housing.

Duluth police officers were first to arrive. Officers entered the burning home, retrieved the infant boy and were performing CPR as a wave of firefighting personnel and equipment moved in.

The infant was transported with his parents to Gwinnett Medical Center in Duluth, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The parents were later transferred to Augusta.

Fire officials described the actions of police as “heroic.”