Smoke detector not operable in deadly Charlotte apartment fire, officials say

The only smoke detector in an apartment fire that killed a 9-year-old boy and his aunt was "not operable," Charlotte Fire tells FOX 46. 

Michael Johnson, 9, and his aunt, 23-year-old Mechele Morrison passed away after being rescued from the blaze. Morrison's 6-year-old son, Tremayne Smith, was also inside at the time. He is recovering in the hospital and responding well to treatment.

Firefighters rescued the three from a burning apartment on Saturday. Officials said the first unit was able to arrive at the Pressley South End Apartments within four minutes of the 911 call.

RELATED: Woman, 9-year-old boy, pass after apartment fire 

Investigators have determined something left in the kitchen cooking, that was unattended, caused the fire.

Family members believe that the three people inside were sleeping when the flames started. Their loved ones said all three suffered from smoke inhalation. 

RELATED: Charlotte Fire rescues mother, two children from apartment 

FOX 46 has learned that an independent investigation is also being conducted into why the smoke alarm within the apartment unit was not operable.