Violent Crimes Unit investigating after 2 found dead in Holt fire
The Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue responded to a call earlier this week about a fire in the 1900 block of Garber Street in Holt.
TCSO Capt. Jack Kennedy said the fire claimed a mobile home, and two people were found dead inside. On Friday, Kennedy said there is reason to believe those found dead in the mobile home were killed.
Investigators said the fire is believed to have happened overnight between May 9 and May 10.
“(Wednesday) afternoon some family contacted us, they had not heard from some of their family members of theirs in a few days,” Kennedy said. “We could not get them on the phone so they came here to their residence to check on them and when they arrived, they discovered that the house had burned.”
The family members had no idea a fire had occurred, and nothing had been reported to TFR or law enforcement, investigators said.
When officers arrived on the scene, they were able to determine that two deceased victims were inside.
“At this point in time, the deceased have been transported to Montgomery for autopsy and we have to wait for official identification to come from them,” Kennedy said. “We do not know if this is in fact the family members officially that they were checking on so at this time we cannot make any formal identification.”
One of the victims, 42-year-old Eric Shane Hatter, has been identified. Hatter lived at the mobile home. The second victim has not yet been identified.
The investigation into the cause of the fire and the deaths is still ongoing.
Neighbor Gracie Denton said she did not hear an explosion.
“Me and my son live up on top of the hill, and we didn’t hear anything,” Denton said. “We didn’t even know anything had caught on fire because we didn’t see any smoke or anything.”
Another neighbor, Bobby Sexton, said his daughter went down the hill going home, and she called him back saying that trailer had burned to the ground.
“She was surprised about it, but she didn’t know the people,” Sexton said. “I knew them a little bit but not enough to know too much about them.”
Denton said it’s sad and it’s hard for the people in the neighborhood because they don’t know the cause of the blaze.
“We just don’t know, and we need to find out,” Denton said. “It could have been anything. Around here people go to sleep with cigarettes, they even accidentally leave cigarettes down and kids play with matches. You just don’t know. I’m going to pray for y’all it’s going to take day by day, but you just have to work on it and pray to God every night.”
Anyone with any information on Eric Hatter or his home is asked to contact VCU at 205-464-8690.