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Local woman dies in house fire

A Madison County woman died in a Jan. 13 house fire on County Rd. 415, according to Chief Bill Starkey of the Cherokee Pass Volunteer Fire Department.

Starkey said the home of Lucille Francis, 74, was already engulfed when his department arrived on the scene.

“When we got there, the roof had fallen in on about ninety percent of [the home],” Starkey said. “It had already pretty much burned out from under the roof.”

Starkey said the fire was reported by Francis’ daughter and son-in-law, who were spending the night in the home. The two were alerted to the fire after being woken by a dog in the home.

Starkey said the home had already filled with smoke and grown too hot for Francis’ daughter and son-in-law to extinguish the fire. After attempting to fight the fire, the two escaped through a bedroom window.

Upon arriving at the home, firefighters concentrated on the portion of the house where Lucille Francis’ bedroom was located. They were able to quickly control the fire, though it took another few hours to extinguish it completely.

Starkey said he and his department were on the scene into the early morning.

“I was there until a little after four,” Starkey said. “I was there five hours by the time it was all said and done.”

Starkey said the State Fire Marshal is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Lucille Francis’ obituary is on page 5 of this issue of the Democrat News.

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