Autopsies are planned Thursday to determine the cause of death and confirm the identities of the children, Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee said. Their names were not immediately released.
Bernitha McCrea lived a block away from the family and said she knew the mother well. McCrea wasn't home when the fire trucks raced down her street. Hours after the fire, deputies weren't letting her past the crime scene tape.
"She was a good parent. She would have tried to save them. She loved those babies," McCrea said.
Roxie McDonald lived next door to the children and their family. She didn't see the flames over her tall hedges, but knew something was wrong when she heard many sirens.
She didn't know the mother, but she saw the children frequently playing in the yard. Her house was roped inside crime tape afterward, so she asked deputies if she would be able to get back if she left to go to her church. They told her she could.
"I talked to my pastor," McDonald said. "We're not going to have our normal Wednesday night service. We're just going to pray for the family."
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