Body found in Athens apartment destroyed by fire


By Joe Johnson

A woman’ body was found in an Athens apartment that was destroyed by fire early Saturday morning.

The woman’s body was so badly burned, she was not able to be immediately identified, according to Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson, who said the white female’s body was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab to determine the victim’s identity and the cause of her death.

“It will be a while before were get the lady identified,” Wilson said.

The fire, reported at about 4:36 a.m. destroyed the apartment in the 300 block of Westchester Drive and damaged neighboring apartments, according to J.W. Thaxton, interim division chief of operations for the Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department.

The first unit arrived on scene at 4:39 a.m. to find a fully involved apartment unit with heavy fire penetrating through the roof,” Thaxton said. “The initial crew quickly deployed hose lines to the unit of origin for an aggressive attack. Due to the amount of fire involvement, crews were repositioned to the adjacent apartments to keep the fire from spreading. A ladder truck was used to mount a vertical attack on the fire and prevent further extension into other apartment units. Four fire engines, a ladder truck, a rescue unit and over 20 firefighters were deployed to prevent the fire from spreading to other apartments and bring it under control.”

Thaxton said that firefighters searched the adjacent apartments and found that all occupants had escaped unharmed

“However, after the fire was brought under control, firefighters discovered a deceased person in the apartment unit of origin,” he said. “The fire destroyed the unit of origin and caused extensive damage to three adjacent units.”

The origin and cause of the fire is being investigated by local fire and police investigators and the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

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