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Mom of 4 kids killed in SC fire faces more charges

Hope Hawkins is seen in a Thursday, April 25, 2013 photo provided by the Darlington County, S.C. Jail. Hawkins, the mother of four children killed in an accidental mobile home fire,was charged Friday, April 26, 2013 in their deaths, authorities said.Hawkins, 21, faces four counts each of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child, for leaving her children home alone when an accidental fire started in the kitchen on Wednesday, April 24. (AP Photo/Darlington County (SC) Jail)

Hope Hawkins is seen in a Thursday, April 25, 2013 photo provided by the Darlington County, S.C. Jail. Hawkins, the mother of four children killed in an accidental mobile home fire,was charged Friday, April 26, 2013 in their deaths, authorities said.Hawkins, 21, faces four counts each of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child, for leaving her children home alone when an accidental fire started in the kitchen on Wednesday, April 24. (AP Photo/Darlington County (SC) Jail)

Jessica Long brings balloons to leave in front of a mobile home where four children were killed in a fire the day before in Hartsville, S.C., Thursday, April 25, 2013. Authorities say smoke inhalation killed 10-month-old twin sisters Myasia and Kynasia Hawkins and their brothers, 2-year-old Camaron Mason and 4-year-old Delonta Dixon. Hawkins daughter is the children’s mother. (AP Photo/The Morning News, Gavin Jackson) LOCAL TV OUT

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The mother of four South Carolina children killed in an accidental mobile home fire was charged Friday in their deaths, authorities said.

Hope Hawkins, 21, faces four counts each of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child, Darlington County Sheriff’s Capt. Andy Locklair said. State and local authorities found no signs of arson and think the fire started Wednesday by accident in the kitchen, though exactly what sparked the blaze had not been determined.

Hawkins was not home when firefighters arrived, and showed up moments later, Locklair said. The woman has given conflicting stories about where she was. No one else was in the home at the time.

“It’s almost like she may have arrived at the same time as the fire apparatus,” Locklair said.

Locklair didn’t know if Hawkins had an attorney. She is scheduled to have a bond hearing later Friday.

It took firefighters less than 10 minutes to put out the fire in Hartsville, a city of some 8,000 people that’s about 60 miles east of the state capital of Columbia.

Authorities said 10-month-old sisters Myasia and Kynasia Hawkins and their brothers, 2-year-old Camaron Mason and 4-year-old Delonta Dixon, died of smoke inhalation. All four children were found in a bedroom next to the kitchen, Locklair said.

Hawkins could face life in prison if she’s convicted of homicide by child abuse, a charge that stems from leaving the children at home alone. The unlawful conduct toward a child charges carry possible sentences of up to 10 years each.

Authorities were still going through records to determine if either law enforcement or social services officials had been called to the home before, Locklair said.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

Associated Press

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