House fire kills elderly woman - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

House fire kills elderly woman

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A deadly fire in Radium Springs, a woman died after a cigarette caught her recliner on fire. Firefighters found 74-year-old Audrey Baty on a bedroom floor of her home on Radium Springs Road just before 2:00 PM Thursday.

Paramedics performed CPR and rushed her to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead. 

Firefighters assisted paramedics as they performed CPR on Baty and rushed her to the hospital.

Neighbor Frank Blythe saw the firefighters when they arrived at the home, and quickly told them someone may be inside. He said, "I was hoping she wasn't in there. I was hoping she was gone, but her vehicle is right there."

Battalion Chief Keith Ambrose says they got word she was inside while in route to the fire.  He said, "That was our priority was rescue when we got word that someone may be trapped."

It's the kind of call firefighters train for, but never want to put into practice. "Empty houses are much better."

Unfortunately, Baty was inside and unseen.  Ambrose said, "Heavy smoke showing, flames showing to the left as they went in. They went in and searched the house, found the body and got her out."

Baty wasn't burned by the fire, but thick, hot black smoke filled the home and her lungs. She died of smoke inhalation.

Blythe says she'll be missed. "Just a real nice lady. Real nice. Do anything in the world for you."

Investigators say a cigarette caught a recliner on fire. Baty was found in a bedroom, trapped behind a door, as if she were trying to escape the house.

Firefighters believe Baty owned a cat, but they haven't seen the pet so far. Mrs. Baty lived in the house for many years.

One of her sons is a Dougherty County deputy sheriff.

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