Fire victim: 'They are going to pay for what they did'

By Valencia

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) - The news that Gerald McCabe and Shonni Abernathy plan to plead guilty to federal drug charges in connection with a fire that killed three and left others homeless was a relief for Kayla Simon.

"It makes me extremely happy to know that they are going to have to pay for what they did to every person who lived there," Simon said.

Simon and her two children were three of the 46 people who were burned out of their homes on May 31, 2012 at the Pine Harbor Apartments in Goose Creek.

"I don't know how people can be so selfish," said Simon of the men arrested and charged. "I don't understand what they were thinking."

Simon says she and her family were headed home from Wal-Mart when she realized their apartment was on fire.

"All I could think about was, had we been home 10 minutes earlier," Simon said.

Soon after the fire, a local nonprofit called Martha's Closet helped her family get back on their feet. A week later, Simon found out she was pregnant with her third child.

Simon says the donations from Martha's Closet helped to furnish her new home, but they didn't help erase the fear from her mind.

"I couldn't go to Wal-Mart without panicking," Simon said. "The sounds of sirens made me panic, The smell of smoke made me panic and I was just really having a hard time handling all of that and being pregnant."

The fire was almost a year ago, but Kayla says her 4-year-old daughter still asks about the tragedy.

"She still thinks, 'Are we going back to South Carolina? Is our house fixed?'" said Simon.

Now that McCabe and Abernathy are pleading guilty, she says she can finally begin to heal and move forward.

McCabe and Abernathy are set to appear in federal court Monday.