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11-year-old student killed in Kershaw County house fire was 'upbeat'

Silas Wilder was a 6th grader at Stover Middle School.

KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — News 19 is learning more about the 11-year-old boy who was killed in a house fire in Elgin on Thursday. 

Silas Wilder was a 6th grader at Stover Middle School, a student who loved to read.

"Silas was very upbeat, energetic. And he could take a negative and make into a positive," Stover Middle School Teacher Sarah Spoto said.

Spoto is recalling happy times with her student, 11-year-old Silas Wilder. 

On Thursday afternoon around 5:45, Wilder's family home caught fire. According to local authorities, a man passing by the home saw the fire behind the house. He went to the front door, knocked it in and yelled for everyone inside to get out.

RELATED: 11-year-old killed in Kershaw County house fire

There were five people in the home at the time. Four of them made it out. Silas didn’t.

"When I heard about it, I just wept," Spoto said.

Spoto said Silas was a joy in the classroom.

"He was loved by our team of teachers and what we noticed about Silas was he loved gaming," Spoto said. "He would constantly talk to his friends about Minecraft or whatever the latest video game was.”

Spoto said the last time she saw Silas was on a school zoom call. When she heard about the fire, she took to a journal where Silas described himself and his life goals.

"I am a great person; my name is Silas Wilder," Spotto said as she read from his journal. "And at the age of 30, I want to be a game maker. I am a very funny person at home, and I make jokes that make people laugh all the time.”

Good Afternoon Stover Families As many of you may already know we ... lost a member of our Stover family with the passing of 6th grader Silas Wilder. We are working as a school on plans to best honor the memory of this wonderful young man, and will release that information early next week.

Silas was a friend to everyone at school, a brother and a ray of light to many. He was loved by many. 

"Despite the fact that this is such a tragedy and loss to our community, Silas would want us to be strong and look for the hope right now," Spoto said.

The Kershaw County School District sent News 19 the following statement: 

"The Kershaw County School District and Stover Middle School family are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our student Silas Wilder, especially during this time of social distancing. Our condolences go out to Silas' family and friends."

Investigators are still working to figure out what the cause of the fire was.

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