Family of 3 killed in accidental house fire in Richland, GA - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Family of 3 killed in accidental house fire in Richland, GA

(Source: Roslyn Giles) (Source: Roslyn Giles)
The victims all lived together in the older wooden home, which had a wood burning stove. (Source: WALB ) The victims all lived together in the older wooden home, which had a wood burning stove. (Source: WALB )
RICHLAND, GA (WTVM) -

An accidental house fire killed three people in Richland, GA Sunday night.  Stewart County Sheriff Larry Jones told News Leader 9 a volunteer fireman and another man noticed smoke coming from a home on 168 Caboose Street around 7:30 p.m.  

The men forced their way inside the home and saw three people inside.  They removed the victims from the home and tried to perform CPR, but they were already dead.

Officials confirmed the body of Willie Pearl Walton, 88, was found near a doorway. Her children, 65-year-old Barbara Ann Walton and 59-year-old Ernest Clyde Walton, were found near their beds. News Leader 9 was told Ernest had been confined to a wheelchair for many years.

The victims all lived together in the older wooden home, which had a wood burning stove. Authorities believe the victims died from smoke inhalation – they had very few burns on their bodies.

Neighbors and other family members helped Richland firefighters in the attempt to save the family.

The Georgia Department of Insurance says Sunday night's fire was accidental. Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens told News Leader 9 the cause of the fire was "unattended cooking on the stove."

"With this tragedy in Richland, we've had 18 fire deaths so far this year, with 5 related to unattended cooking in February," Hudgens said.  "I urge Georgian to use extreme caution while cooking and heating their homes." 

The victims' autopsies will be performed on Wednesday in Atlanta. 

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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