Bodies in house fire sent to crime lab - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Bodies in house fire sent to crime lab

RICHLAND, GA (WALB) -

Three bodies are being sent to a state crime lab for autopsies after a fatal house fire in south Georgia. Investigators say food left on the stove caused that fire in Richland.

Relatives were devastated as they looked at the crumpled burnt mess of what used to be their childhood home. Now they are mourning three of their family members.

Charred wood is what's left of a home on Caboose street in Richland, but when family members look at the burnt mess, all they see is memories.

"This is the back bone of the family, my grandmother, everybody in the family always come down here every summer," says Kenya Willis, Relative.

"All of our memories, the celebrations, as a child, you knew you were going to come here and have fun, eat, play, laugh, listen to stories," says Kendall Walton, Relative.

Officials say 87-year-old Willie Pearl Walton's body was found toward the back of the house, and she may have been trying to get out when the fire erupted.

As for her children, 65-year-old Barbara Ann Walton and 59 year-old Ernest Clyde Walton, their bodies were found in their beds. Ernest Walton was confined to a wheel chair since he was a young boy.

"My uncle, the one that was handicap, he always wanted to go for a ride, and now he got his ultimate ride," says Kendall Walton.

Officials say food left on the stove sparked the blaze.

Family members fight back tears thinking of what they will miss most about their loved ones and the home where they spent their childhood.

"My grandmama, she was a jokester, she always had a joke, and then my grandmother's wisdom," says Kendall Walton.

"And that is every holiday or birthday, and we just come down here and celebrate, and then just to know in your heart, you can never go back there, it is hurtful," says Johnny Walton.

Neighbors and other family members who lived nearby helped Richland firefighters in the attempt to save the family.

Officials say it appears the family died of smoke inhalation. Leaving food on the stove is the leading cause of house fires.

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