Albany woman dies trying to escape a fire - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany woman dies trying to escape a fire

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June 14, 2008

Albany -- The Albany Fire Department responded to the 600 block of Willard Avenue Saturday morning after someone noticed smoke coming from a home. That's where they found 81-year-old Mattie Sherman unconscious at her back door.

The door had a deadbolt, keyed on both sides, and she wasn't able to get out. Firefighters tell us this is a common problem with this type of security.

81-year-old Mattie Sherman is dead after the double-key deadbolt on her back door kept her from escaping a kitchen fire Saturday morning. "It's designed to keep people from breaking in and turning a dead bolt. And though it keeps people out sometimes it prevents you from getting out," said Albany Fire Chief, James Carswell.

"It's devastating because as you get older, you wonder if anyone will be around to assist you in these situations," said neighbor, Geraldine Trice.

But neighbors tell us though the risk is there, "I took off the storm windows for that reason, but replaced it with other security, but you have to take it as you go," said Trice. It's a risk they are willing to take especially if you live alone. "That is something I worry about, but because of security we have to do what we have to do," said Trice.

That's why its important to be prepared and have a plan in place. "If you have a double key lock, have the key somewhere in the area. Nail it on the wall or keep it in the cabinet," said Chief Carswell.

"Because in these kind of conditions, you can't go looking for a key. You need to know where it is." Because it can cost you your life. Investigators said Mattie Sherman died from extensive heat and smoke inhalation.

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