Union County Assistant Fire Marshal Zeb Mullis said the house fire may have been started by a lit cigarette being left inside a trash can inside the home.
Mullis said the 11 people sleeping inside the home at the time of the fire did not initially notice the growing flames and smoke because of the lack of operational smoke detectors.
"By the time (the people in the house) noticed the fire, the smoke had already filled up the house," the fire official said.
Mullis told the Observer that an unidentified boy inside the home managed to wake up during the blaze and began alerting others inside the home, allowing most residents to escape.
"Why he woke up, we don't know," Mullis said. "I call it divine intervention."
Written by United Press International