ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Fourteen Georgians died in fires over the weekend, including an 88-year-old woman in Albany.
On Monday, firefighters urged south Georgians to check their fireplaces and heating sources to prevent more fire deaths.
Officials said that a fault in the Albany home's chimney caused Saturday's fatal fire, and that same problem is likely in hundreds of other south Georgia homes right now.
Now, firefighters are urging homeowners to take action to protect their families.
Family members said that Minnie Nixon lived her entire life in her home in the 100 block of Swift Street.
Just before 9 p.m. on Saturday, her neighbor tried to save her, as the house was engulfed in flames.
"I said 'Minnie, where are you?' She said 'I'm in the kitchen. I'm in the kitchen.' I said 'Hold on.' And I tried to kick the door down that goes in there, but I couldn't get it to budge," explained neighbor Adolph Solomon
Investigators said that the fatal fire was caused by holes in the mortar of the bricks in the chimney.
Firefighters said someone had placed a fire block in the chimney, but it didn't work.
"They had placed a piece of metal over the holes to try and stop the penetration. The fire from penetrating the holes but the metal distended. When it distended, the fire came around," said Investigator Sam Harris with the Albany Fire Department.
Fire officials said that the fire went through the chimney holes and set the walls on fire.
Now, with the cold winter temperatures approaching, firefighters are urging homeowners to check their chimneys.
"It's always a good idea to have a brick person or a chimney sweep come out and inspect your fireplace at the beginning of each fire season, when you are going to use it," explained Harris.
The fire was so intense that firefighters evacuated the house next door, it's metal siding melted from the heat.
Firefighter Lt. Jason Ribolla was injured in a fall fighting that fatal fire. He was still off duty on Monday with a back injury.