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Two killed in duplex fire still unidentified

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Officials are still working to positively identify the man and woman found dead in a burning apartment on Tuesday.

John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said medical examiners are trying to get medical or dental records to confirm the identities of the deceased.

The GBI has not yet released the names or the causes of death for the two found at 5606 Windwood Road, outside Riverdale. At the scene, fire department officials said they thought they knew who the two were and how they were related to the woman who leases the duplex, but some questions still remained. Officials have only described the deceased as "unidentified adult male and female."

The fire destroyed the residence, trapping the two upstairs.

When Clayton County firefighters arrived, the fire was burning at more than 1,000 degrees, the roof had collapsed and the floor was giving way. The man reportedly told neighbors he was trapped, speaking from an upstairs window as the fire burned below him, in the kitchen and living room.

One neighbor bust through the front door, ducking under the smoke, and found the man on the floor at the foot of the stairs. The neighbor dragged the man outside, according to official reports, but he died there, a few feet from the front door.

The woman was found upstairs, in what was a bedroom. It was not immediately clear if she had died from smoke inhalation, the collapsing roof, or from burns.

The man and woman are believed to have been asleep when the fire started, and fire investigators suspected the blaze was an accident, perhaps starting in the kitchen.