Cobb Police trying to calm rumors, uncover facts surrounding deadly Austell fire

Investigators are trying to sort fact from fiction - and decide whether some of the stories coming from the community are true.

AUSTELL, Ga. -- It's been almost a week since Landon Sides was severely burned in a mobile home fire but mystery still surrounds what started the blaze that would ultimately kill him - and if there's more to it.

There isn't much evidence from the scene of the fire and that's making the investigation by Cobb County police difficult.

"It's just sad," Joseph Crawford said. "It's real sad to hear that."

The gutted remains of the mobile home on lot 114 have given few clues about how Crawford's friend, Landon Sides, died. But when firefighters found him, he was severely burned.

"It's real tragic, you know," Crawford said. "I wish my friend would have got to make it. I wish none of this happened."

The abandoned trailer at Lawrence Mobile Home Park caught fire on Thursday. When firefighters arrived, it was already engulfed in flames. According to police reports, Sides was nearby screaming in pain.

"He was actually able to get out of the trailer and go to another trailer and that's where he sought help," Cobb County Police Sgt. Dana Pierce said.

The 20-year-old was taken to the hospital where he died on Sunday. Sgt. Pierce said Sides wasn't able to tell investigators what happened before he succumbed to his injuries.

"We have not taken anything off the table as far as what investigators are looking at or what they believe they're going to find in this investigation," Pierce said.

While the investigation looms, officers are also dealing with another concern - rumors spreading quickly about how Sides died.

"At this point, we're trying to calm the wave of social media storm," Pierce said. "Trying to calm the information that is apparently coming from the community there that there may have been something related to the crime in this particular situation."

Sgt. Pierce said that, at this point, all they know is that this is a death investigation. They are interviewing several people in the community and believe they'll have more information in the next day or two to shed light on what caused the fire - and what caused Sides' death.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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