The bodies of 33-year-old Mary Nicole Cassell and 9-year-old Winter Wright were found in the remains of the two-story house in Jefferson, said Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine. Wright's mother and two other children were treated for smoke inhalation.
Cassell awoke hungry around 2:30 a.m. and roused some of the children looking for potato chips, Oxendine said. The children fell back to sleep and awoke again about half an hour later to Cassell screaming from the kitchen that there was a fire.
Family members told fire investigators that the small house filled quickly with fire and the scene was chaotic.
"Everybody thought Winter was leaving the house but she did not, and by the time anyone had realized, it was too late," Oxendine said.
The fire started in the kitchen, but its exact cause could not be determined because the kitchen was completely destroyed, Oxendine said. The fire was an accident and there was no indication of foul play, he said.
The house did not have a smoke detector, and Oxendine urged families to install smoke detectors, change the batteries twice a year when they change the clocks and practice fire drills.