The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 12, 2014

UPDATE: 2 victims ID'd from midnight blaze in western Limestone

State: 34 people killed by fires this year

— A mother and daughter were reported dead following a house fire early this morning near Bay Hill Village in western Limestone County, officials said.

Sheriff’s Capt. Stanley McNatt said the victims have been identified as Josephine Anne Lamar, 76, and Traci Rebecca Shook, 43, both of Athens.

Lamar’s son, who was living in the basement apartment of the home at 4155 Snake Road, noticed smoke coming from the ground level at about 12:30 a.m., said Sheriff Mike Blakely.

Coroner Mike West said the son was not injured despite pulling the two women from the home, which he described as a total loss.

“The son said he pulled both of them onto the porch — one on the front porch and one on the back porch, and both porches were completely burned,” West said.

Although the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the victims' identities, their bodies have been taken to the state forensic lab in Huntsville for official identification.

The cause of death has not been determined because an autopsy must be performed, West said. The state lab is closed today due to inclement weather.

Stephen Holmes, spokesman for the Alabama Fire Marshal’s Office, said this afternoon the cause and origin of the fire is under investigation.

“This investigation is ongoing and foul play is not suspected at this time,” Holmes said. “These two fatalities bring our total for the year in Alabama to 34. That is absolutely unacceptable.”

Holmes said many of the fatalities are due to people trying to stay warm during the recent frigid weather. He said some of the fatal fires have been so extreme that it didn’t leave enough evidence to pinpoint a heat source as the official cause.

“We ask that people be careful with their space heaters and wood heaters,” he said. “Since the weather has gotten colder, it has seemed the fatality rate has (risen). The preponderance of evidence for these fires seems to be caused by a heat source.”

Volunteer firefighters from multiple departments, including Owens and Clements, reported to the scene, which is off Little Elk Road near the Tennessee River.

—Reporter Jean Cole contributed to this report.


Text Only
Local News


Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

None of the above
     View Results
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee