Mother and 2-year-old daughter killed in house fire were ‘inseparable’


COLUMBIA, Pa. (WHTM) — A memorial for 20-year-old Cami Jo Combs and her daughter Callie sat outside a house on Monday, where a fire blazed Saturday morning, killing both.

Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said the mother and daughter died from smoke inhalation and thermal burns.

The two were the only family members home when the fire began on the 200 block of South Second Street. The house was shared with Combs’s mother, sister and two nieces.

A state fire marshal said the accidental fire started in a trash can on top of the stove.

Columbia Fire Chief Doug Kemmerly said there was only one smoke detector in the rental house but there should have been seven. He said the sole smoke detector did not beep when the fire occurred.

A Columbia codes department employee said the house was previously inspected in April and had all seven smoke detectors at the time.

Combs’s aunt, Ruth Hoffman, said losing two members of her family has been devastating though the community has shown tremendous support.

“She loved her,” Hoffman said. “She took very good care of her. They were inseparable.”

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