Meridian Star

September 7, 2013

Woman dies in house fire

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     A woman in Clarke County died Friday morning in a house fire marking the third person in as many weeks to be killed in home fires in the county.

    Clarke County Sheriff Todd Kemp said the woman, aged 60, seemed to have been overcome by heavy smoke.

    "The body was found very close to the front door," Kemp said Friday afternoon. "It is really tragic."

    Kemp said the home, located in the Matherville community near the Wayne and Clarke County line, was a complete loss. He said when volunteer firemen arrived on the scene around 6:30 a.m. they found the home fully involved in smoke and flames. When the fire was knocked down sufficiently, the firemen conducted a search and quickly discovered the woman's body at the front of the home. The name of the victim is being withheld pending notification of relatives.

    Kemp is at a loss as to why Clarke County has suffered through three recent fire deaths.

    "It isn't even cold yet when home fires traditionally go up because of fireplaces and space heaters," Kemp said. "I'm starting to dread those first cold nights because we might have some more deaths."

    Kemp said an investigation is ongoing into the cause of the blaze and it is too early to determine if smoke detectors were in place inside the home. But he did say that smoke detectors are a major line of defense against fire deaths.

    "We give out dozens of smoke detectors each year and other agencies give away even more," Kemp said. "Everyone should have several of them in their homes because they are a proven way to get an early warning of a fire. Smoke detectors save countless lives every year."