Three victims of fatal Saturday night fire identified

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Three Griffin residents lost their lives Saturday night in a residential structure fire at 220 Day St.

According to Griffin Fire-Rescue Chief Tommy Jones, fire units arrived on the scene at approximately 10:05 p.m. and found the home fully-involved with flames showing through the roof.

Spalding County Coroner Sonny Foster has identified the victims as 75-year-old Mary J. Fears, her boyfriend, 82-year-old Andrew Foster and Fears’ 54-year-old son, Terry Jones.

“The son (Terry Jones) was a couple of doors down at 10:05 p.m. He went running back up and tried to go back in and get them out, but was overcome by smoke,” Chief Jones said.

Upon their arrival, officers of the Griffin Police Department located Terry Jones at the front door where officials say he was overcome by heavy smoke.

“Police officers saw his shoes and grabbed him,” Chief Jones said.

Once the fire was controlled, firefighters made a search of the house and located the two elderly victims.

Fears was found in the living room, not far from her son, and Andrew Foster was discovered in the back bathroom.

Sonny Foster said Fears was pronounced dead at the scene and Terry Jones and Andrew Foster were transported in cardiac arrest to the emergency room of Spalding Regional Hospital where they were later pronounced dead.

As of Sunday morning, the bodies were awaiting transport to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab where full autopsies will be performed.

Sonny Foster said he anticipates the causes of death will be ruled smoke inhalation – carbon monoxide poisoning.

Chief Jones said the initial investigation indicates Fears’ and Foster’s bedroom was the fire’s point of origin, but the exact cause has not been determined.

“We’re looking at a lamp, but we don’t have a cause yet,” he said.

One firefighter also sustained injuries in the incident.

“He suffered burns to his face and ears. He was taken to the emergency room, treated and released back into service,” Chief Jones said.

This tragedy marks the first fire-related deaths in the city of Griffin since 2005, Chief Jones reported.

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