Community mourns after woman dies in house fire - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Community mourns after woman dies in house fire

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Residents on Marathon Drive are banding together after they lost a woman they all call the mother of their community.

Wednesday night's blaze claimed the life of 69-year-old Erell Williams. Family members say Ms. Williams was trapped in a back room inside the home.

"She told me that I'm going to cook you a dinner," said Tony Williams. But he would never get the steak dinner from his mother.  She died after her house caught fire just after 8 pm.

Tony says he was at home when he got the startling news from his brother Chris.

"I didn't understand because I thought I was dreaming. And when I got here everything was blocked off . That is when I realized everything was serious," Williams said.  

Family and spectators on the typically quiet Marathon Drive gathered together as news spread of Ms. Williams' death. She had dozens of people in the community that she claimed as her own.

"Everyone in the neighborhood knows her very well and they cared about her. It was just a tragic loss for anyone," Antonio Hicks said.

Hicks told News Leader 9  that everyone in the family is coming together during the difficult time.

Tony Williams says his mother was found in a back storage room in the house that she rarely used. He says the fire started in that same room and that she was trying to get out of the window in that room.

"We think that the flames overtook her and that she couldn't get out," Williams said.

Hicks says he stopped by to check on his mom just before the fire happened and a couple of hours later she was gone.

"If you have a chance to tell someone that you love them because you never know what tomorrow may be," Hicks said.

Columbus Fire Marshall Ricky Shores says the cause of the fire has is still being investigated. According to Muscogee County deputy coroner no file play is suspected. 

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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