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Fire deaths caused by smoke

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The two who died in a duplex fire last week were killed by smoke and soot inhalation, according to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy.

The dead were identified by medical examiners, with the aid of relatives and medical information, as 36-year-old Tony Ford, and 43-year-old Melrose Tolliver.

Ford was apparently dating the woman who was living in the 5606 Windwood Road residence, and Tolliver was his aunt, according to those at the scene of the fire on Oct. 7.

Tolliver was discovered dead in a bed in an upstairs bedroom. The house burned down around her. Ford died in the front yard, after a neighbor tried to pull him out of the blaze.

The 36-year-old reportedly was alerted to the fire by neighbors pounding on his door, and spoke to them through an upstairs window, saying he was trapped.

The investigation into the cause of the fire has not yet been concluded, but initial reports indicated that the fire started in the kitchen, and trapped the two upstairs, where they may have been asleep.

When firefighters arrived, the fire was burning at more than 1,000 degrees and the building was beginning to collapse.

Cooking fires are believed to be the No.1 cause of home fires in the Southern Crescent. Fire officials say people oftern put something on the stove, when they get home from work, and then go take a shower or fall asleep in another room.

Officials encourage everyone to check the batteries on their smoke alarms regularly, and to never leave the kitchen stove on, and unattended.