Mother, five children die in overnight fire north of Silsbee

Ashley Pickering and children (Facebook.com)

A mother and her five children between 3 and 11 years old died in a fire at their home early in the morning on Oct. 18, according to Hardin County Sheriff Mark Davis.

Early reports indicated that six fatality victims were discovered in the remains of the home, but authorities say everyone who lived there is accounted for. The children were 11, 7, and 3 years old along with two 4 year old twins.

"The mother and five kids live alone in the house... the father doesn't live there," Davis said. "He came to the scene, so he is aware [but] he lives elsewhere."

The home, which was located in the 8700 block of Fountain Drive north of Silsbee, was a small apartment behind a main house on a residential street, Davis explained. The Silsbee Fire Department responded at 12:15 a.m. to a reported structure fire, according to the Hardin County Sheriff's Office.

Everyone on the property is related, according to Davis, but investigators have not yet determined the exact relationship between those living in the main house and the family in the small apartment.

Both the Hardin County Sheriff's Office and the Texas State Fire Marshall's Office are investigating the fire, which is standard for any fatality related fire, Davis explained.

Law enforcement is still working the scene and collecting physical evidence and talking to neighbors, family, and witnesses.

"Our hope is to have a preliminary idea of the cause of the fire before the day is out," Davis said, but added, "at this point, we’re not seeing anything that’s relatively suspicious that would indicate criminal or foul play."

Hardin County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Charles Brewer ordered autopsies for all victims. The bodies have been transported to the Jefferson County morgue in Beaumont.

The victims were identified as mother Ashley Pickering, 31; Cristian Mattox, 11; Serenity Mattox, 7; Cavence Mattox, 4; Cash Mattox, 4; and Camden, age 3.

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