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Selma Fire Fatalities

Cause of Fire Accidental

Contact: John S. Robison, State Fire Marshal

(334) 241-4166

3/30/1999

Further investigation, by the Selma Police Department and the State Fire Marshals Office, identified the cause of Sunday's fatal fire as accidental. One adult and one child were killed in the fire.

Investigators determined that the adult victim was attempting to light a natural gas space heater in the bathroom of the mobile home with a piece of burning paper towel when she accidentally ignited a curtain hanging in the hall. The victim, who was physically challenged, was carrying the burning paper towel from the kitchen stove to the bathroom and accidentally allowed the flame to come in contact with a heavy piece of drapery material used as a curtain between the hall and the kitchen.

By the time the victim and other occupants of the mobile home and dwelling became aware of the fire, the fire had spread to a mattress leaning against one wall in the hall. The adult victim was unable to reach an exit and the child became trapped as the fire spread.

Earlier reports that the fire resulted from fire falling out of the space heater and igniting the mattress were incorrect.

There was no smoke alarm in the mobile home, although smoke alarms are required in all structures where people sleep, including mobile homes and manufactured housing.