By Joe Johnson
County authorities on Thursday continued to investigate a weekend house fire that killed its lone resident.
The home on Georgia Drive was occupied by a 62-year-old woman who was believed to be the victim, according to Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson.
“I’m 99-percent sure who it is but I’m waiting for the other 1 percent from the GBI,” he said.
According to Wilson, the victim’s body was too badly burned to make immediate identification possible.
The coroner said that medical information was sent to the Georgia Bureau of Criminal Investigation's State Crime Lab that should enable medical examiners to make a positive identification.
“I hope to hear something by this afternoon,” he said.
The fire was reported at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a media release from Athens Clarke County Public Information Officer Jeff Montgomery.
“The Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department was dispatched to a report of a structure fire with people possibly still inside the home,” the release stated. “The first crew arrived on scene at 11:33 a.m. and found smoke coming from the home
“The initial crew quickly deployed hose lines and entered the structure to search for victims. The fire was brought under control quickly and the search completed,” the release stated. “The victim was found deceased during the search operation. There were no other victims found during the search.”
The release further stated: “While no foul play is suspected, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The Athens-Clarke County Fire Department, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, and Athens-Clarke County Coroner’s Office are jointly investigating the incident. The deceased next-of-kin has been notified by the Coroner’s Office and the body sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for positive identification and further investigation into cause of death.”
Montgomery said the fatal fire was not publicized until four days after the fact because, “They were working on the investigation, the Coroner’s Office work, notification of the next of kin, and to make sure that appropriate Fire staff were available for any follow-up" question from the media.
Fire Capt. Nate Moss on Thursday said the cause of the fire continued to be investigated.