A Jan. 6 house fire that killed a 73-year-old Ellabell woman was started by lint in a dryer duct, state investigators say.
The woman, Mary Huerd, 73, is the first woman to die in a fire in Georgia this year, according to a press release issued Wednesday by the Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner’s Office.
The release said the fire started behind a dryer because of an “improperly vented dryer duct. The dryer’s exhaust ignited trapped clothing lint, which started the fire.”
Huerd’s 40-year-old singlewide mobile home did not have smoke detectors, according to officials.
Firefighters with Bryan County Emergency Services responded around 3:50 p.m. Jan. 6 to the fire at the Highway 204 address.
After putting the fire out, they found Huerd’s body near the laundry room.
It was turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for an autopsy, according to Safety Fire Commissioner John King, and a number of state and local agencies are involved in the investigation, including the Bryan County Sheriff ’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Bryan County Emergency Services Chief Freddy Howell called the incident a tragedy and said it’s important for residents to keep dryer vents cleaned out as well as have working smoke detectors in the home.
“And it’s important to get out of the house. Let us get out there and put it out,” Howell said.