Ala. Resident Fire Victim Dies of Smoke Inhalation; No Damages Released

December 31, 2003

The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences notified Autauga County Coroner Billy Brown this morning that Freda Erwin Poole died of smoke inhalation. Poole died Saturday morning during a fire at her apartment and is the first fire fatality in Prattville since 1985.

Investigators with the Prattville Fire and Police Departments and the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office said they have eliminated all but two possibilities as the cause for the fire. Poole, who lived alone, was reportedly a smoker and had scented candles throughout her home. The fire originated at a bedside table located across the room from the bed where Poole slept.

Investigators agreed the fire was a very slow smoldering type fire, but could not eliminate either a cigarette or a candle as the cause for the fire. A lamp sitting on the table was eliminated, as was the electrical system in the apartment, as the lamp was not connected to an outlet.

The fire started on the bedroom side of the wall and burned into the wall, however, none of the insulation on any of the wiring was destroyed by the fire. There were no other sources of ignition in the area of the table, reportedly leaving the investigators with only the two possibilities.

No amount of damages to the apartment have been released yet.

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