A house fire on Saturday morning in Richmond Hill claimed the life of Richmond Hill resident Kimberly Collins, 37.
Thirty-five firefighters, along with members of Bryan County EMS and the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, responded to a report of a fire at 259 East Old Mill Road around 7:30 a.m. The home is located off Hwy. 144, near the Jericho subdivision.
South Bryan County Fire Chief Mike Smith said the Georgia State Fire Marshall’s office was called in to investigate the cause of the blaze and an investigation is ongoing.
Preliminary reports indicate Collins was rendered unconscious from smoke inhalation before flames overtook her.
The fire reportedly started in the kitchen and was called in by neighbors after they saw smoke coming from the home.
Smith said the flames did not break through to the outside of the structure and structural damage was for the most part limited to the kitchen, living room and the attic above those areas because the fire was quickly controlled.
Smith said Collins body was discovered almost immediately upon entering the home. He also said the emergency personnel were originally told Collins’ two sons, six-year-old Dylan and eight-year-old Travis, were inside the home which triggered a frantic search. That only lasted several minutes, he said, as the firefighters were told within minutes that the children were out hunting with their father.
Smith indicated he did not hear a smoke alarm. "There is a chance that could have saved her life," he said. "Statistics show that smoke alarms decrease fatalities by 50 percent."
Smith said this is the second fire fatality this year in Bryan County and "this is the first time of know of that two occurred in the same year." The other was in February when a man died on Belfast-Keller Road when a camper burned down.