Cuthbert woman killed in house fire - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cuthbert woman killed in house fire

By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

CUTHBERT, GA (WALB) - Flames still smoldered on what was left of the roof at 119 Clark Street. And those same flames contributed to the death of 58-year-old Betty Carter just a few hours earlier.

"She was a very sweet person, good-hearted person. She tries to be energetic," said victim's cousin, Mildred Johnson.  And those who knew her said took a lot for the handicap woman who lived alone. "She had real bad arthritis, but she still tried to make due," said Johnson.

Cuthbert firefighters were called to her home at 1:30 AM Saturday morning and spent several hours fighting that fire. Authorities found Carter's body just inside of the side door. "She was possibly trying to get out," said Major Andy Bryant with the Cuthbert Fire Department.

But at some point during the night firefighters ran out of water. "We had a problem with one of our fire hydrants and we had to swap with another one," said Bryant. A another truck with water was called in until they were able to switch hydrants. 

"Once we got that resolved, everything was up and running," said Bryant. The hydrant that malfunctioned was on North Highland Avenue just a block away from Randolph County Elementary School.

"The Public Works department is in charge of making sure hydrants function. We inspect them every year and paint them," said Bryant.

And though firefighters lost precious time waiting for that water, they still say it didn't play a role in Carter's death. "Smoke inhalation, more or less, is what got her before the fire," said Bryant.

But regardless of how what killed her those who knew her say, "she didn't deserve to die like this," said Johnson. And they hope the situation is resolved before flames claim another life in the community.

Betty Carter's body was taken to the Crime Lab in Atlanta for an autopsy. Firefighters say a space heater that was too close to a bed is the cause. The State Fire Marshals office is also investigating.

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