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Cause of blaze remains under investigation

February 8, 2013


A house fire claimed the life of an elderly Starkville woman Thursday and injured another person.

Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt confirmed 86-year-old Mary Elizabeth Foster of 303 Everglade Ave. died of smoke inhalation in her residence. Her body was sent to Jackson for an autopsy. No foul play is suspected, Hunt said.

Neither the identity nor the condition of the other person in the house has been released. Starkville firefighters were able to rescue the individual from the fire before he was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center. Foster had health-related issues that prevented her ability to walk, Starkville Fire Chief Rodger Mann said.

Mann said there was smoke and heat damage throughout the structure but the fire damage was contained to the two bedrooms on its right side.

Mann said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation. Smoking-related materials were found at the area of the fire’s origin, he said, but whether the cause was smoking-related cannot be confirmed until every other possible cause is eliminated.

A resident of Brooksville Garden Apartments near Foster’s residence, said he was standing outside and saw the smoke. When he walked closer to the scene he said he noticed people attempting to go inside the house and rescue the victims but the side of the house where they were was engulfed in flames.

Fire and police personnel were notified at 12:54 p.m. and arrived at the scene two minutes later.

Mann said a team of first responders was able to make quick entry into the structure to bring the man who was still alive to safety so he could receive emergency medical treatment.

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