Thanksgiving fire claims three lives

Published 2:56 am Sunday, November 25, 2001

CENTURY, Fla. While most area residents were settling in Thursday for turkey and dressing, two local families were mourning the loss of three of their family members after an early-morning house fire took their lives.
Cynthia Stephens, 22, Chastity Stephens, 2, and Brittany Pace, 11, died of what officials have unofficially said was smoke inhalation when a Thursday morning house fire struck their residence in the 7600 block of Mayo Street in Century.
Surviving the fire were Bryant Pace, 30, and Ashley Pace, 8.
According to Century Fire Department officials, the call came in at 6:22 a.m. and by the time units arrived at the scene moments later, the home was engulfed by flames.
The day of thanks turned bitter for the loved ones of the three victims who were excited about the pending announcement that Cynthia Stephens and Bryant Pace would be married in January.
Pace and Stephens were parents of the children who died in the fire.
According to the Century Fire Department, the home was completely lost and units from Century, McDavid and Flomaton assisted in battling the fire.
Also assisting were Century Police Department officials and officials from the Escambia County, Fla., Sheriff's Department.
According to the Sheriff's Department, a homicide investigation is being conducted by the Florida State Fire Marshall's Office out of Pensacola. Preliminary reports indicate that faulty wiring was responsible for the fire.
Calls to the Fire Marshall's Office Thursday and Friday were not returned.

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