WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Family members are remembering two victims that died in a house fire in Wilmington.
According to officials, Pamela Pickett, 51, and her great-niece Makayla Pickett, 14, died in Tuesday morning's fire. Officials are conducting a criminal investigation of the fire that authorities say originated from both the front and back of the house. A suspect has still not been arrested.
Meanwhile, the Pickett family speaks out about the loved ones they lost.
"Pam was a giving person," said Tina Pickett, Pam's older sister. "It didn't matter if she didn't have a lot, she would do whatever she could to help someone else, and Makayla was very enthusiastic very inquisitive, she was just a very fun loving 14-year-old girl."
Makayla, like all the Pickett family, loved to play music.
"When she was a baby I used to hold her and play the bongos to put her to sleep," added Makayla's great-uncle, William Pickett. "That is how I taught her how to play."
Makayla was a freshman at Hoggard High School, and Dr. Steven Sullivan, principal of Hoggard, said Makayla always had a positive attitude and a huge smile on her face. He said she had an inquisitive nature and no one at school was a stranger to her.
"She loved to chat with everyone and her infectious laughter will be greatly missed in our classrooms and hallways," Sullivan said. "She was an inspiration to us all."
Crews with the Wilmington Fire Department were called to respond to the property at 1901 Lingo Street around 5 a.m. They reported seeing heavy flames upon arrival and said several people were still inside.
According to Battalion Chief David Hines, three people were taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Two of the people have been released at this time. Beverly Pickett, 54, remains in the hospital.
Firefighters searched the home several times in an effort to locate additional victims, but did not find any. Crews were able to put the fire out shortly after 7 a.m. A person who was initially unaccounted for was safely located.
Battalion Chief David Hines could not confirm if there were working smoke alarms at the time of the fire. He said investigators told him they did see reminisces of two alarms; however, the first responders said they did not hear any alarms when they arrived on scene.
The WPD and SBI are investigating the incident at this time. Officials said they do believe the fire that killed both Makayla and Pamela was intentionally set. As of Monday, the detective on the case said they do not have any suspects at this time.
Battalion Chief Sammy Flowers said the structural and content damages are estimated at $115,000.
The American Red Cross of Eastern North Carolina is providing lodging and all immediate needs to the victims. The Salvation Army is also providing Christmas packs for the victims.
Several members of the community, including four of Makayla's teachers from Hoggard High School, are helping with the funeral costs. Maykala and Pamela's memorial services will take place this Friday.