An overnight apartment fire Thursday, February 27, 2014 in Foley has claimed the life of an elderly woman. Now the State Fire Marshall is looking into how it happened. Several other residents had to be evacuated while the fire was brought under control. One of them was a 91 year old woman.
Fire and rescue trucks were dispatched to Forest Hills apartments on Peachtree Ave. just before 2:00 a.m. Foley Fire Chief, Joey Darby said they found unit #429 on fire when they arrived on scene. Tragically, the resident, an elderly female could not get out in time.
“We did find the victim very near the front door so she was obviously trying to escape and unfortunately didn’t make it out,” Darby said.
While the fire department brought the fire under control, neighbors nearby helped other residents from the building to safety. Ninety one year-old Lora Price was one of those who had to get out quick.
“I got up and went to the bathroom and I smelled smoke then,” recalled Price.
Within minutes firefighters evacuated Price, but it was 30 degrees outside. Fortunately, another neighbor, Marion Greene took the senior citizen in so she could stay warm.
“They could have been overcome with smoke and stuff in both the apartments there and whatnot and it would have been a bigger tragedy than what it was,” Green said.
Friday, neighbors were still talking about the fire. Most didn’t know the victim personally, saying she kept to herself. Chief Darby says it may be some time before the victim’s name is released because she has no next-of-kin in the area. Price is thankful to be OK, but is sorrowed at the loss of her next door neighbor.
“I didn’t know a whole lot about her. I just checked on her now and then. I’m sorry that she won’t be there anymore.”
This was Foley’s first fatal house fire in over four years, but the 39th in Alabama just this year. That’s two times the average for this time of year. Fire officials said the cold weather has played a factor in the increase, but they also blame faulty safety equipment like smoke detectors.