Dead woman discovered after apartment fire

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -  Officials in Phenix City are trying to piece together the puzzle surrounding a fire and a death at an apartment complex for the elderly.

The Phenix City Fire Department responded to a past structure fire at an apartment on South Railroad Street. Once they got inside not only did they find evidence of a bedroom fire, but they found the body of the elderly woman who lived there.

Phenix City Fire Chief Kris Kennedy said, "We think the fire may have been a result of a cigarette on the mattress. With the victim not being in the bed, at this time we're awaiting autopsy results to find out if she died as a result of the fire or as a result of something else."

The fire was contained to just the bedroom, and fire officials say it seems to have just put itself out, "The apartment was sealed up and there was no other outside air source to cause the fire to spread."

Neighbors tell News Leader Nine, 62 year old Tomasina Wynn lived alone in the one bedroom home at the Blake Apartments. Her family came to visit Sunday evening and found her dead inside her room. The main question now is: did the fire kill her or was her poor health the reason for her sudden death?

"Autopsy results will indicate smoke in her lungs. If she died before the fire as a result of some sort of sort of medical problem or if she does have smoke in her lungs she was still breathing at the time of the fire," explained Kennedy.

The Alabama State Fire Marshal was called in to assist in the investigation because of the unusual circumstances involving the fire.

The Russell County coroner says preliminary autopsy results for Wynn should be available in a week. They are hoping the puzzle will be solved after the autopsy results come in.

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