Four die in arson house fire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Four die in arson house fire

October 25, 2005

Valdosta - Thirty-six year old Cynthia Allen is charged with setting fire to a house on Troupe Street early Tuesday morning, while eight people slept inside.

"When our officers arrived, with the help of a citizens, four individuals were actually pulled from the residence, three males and one female," said Capt. Brian Childress.

But the other residents were trapped inside. "Unfortunately, we've located four deceased bodies inside the residence that died because of the fire," said Childress.

Those who survived the fire told investigators Allen had been dating a man who lived there, and the two had been fighting. "In the past week or so, she'd made threats that she was going to burn the residence down," said Childress.

Police responded to this home earlier Monday night because of a disturbance cause by Allen. She was given a criminal trespass warning, and told to leave. "She was allowed to get some things she had here at the residence and she left," said Childress. "We weren't told anything about the threats she'd previously made."

Police are still trying to figure out how Allen started the fire. Neighbors say it spread like wildfire. "It started on the porch then went up and all the way to the back fast," said Patricia Cox.

And they can't believe something like this would happen in their neighborhood. "It's just a tragedy, a real tragedy," said Cox.

The people who made it out of the fire were treated for smoke inhalation and are doing fine. Those killed were 60-year-old Alberta Montgomery, 62-year-old Eloise Prester, 36-year-old Phillip Williams, and the man Allen had been dating, 52-year-old John Thomas.

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