Housefire claims life of Sterrett woman

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A fire that claimed

the life of an elderly Shelby County woman early last Friday morning remains under investigation but appears to have been caused by accident, officials say.

According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, at about 5:15 a.m. last Friday, deputies responded to a report of a housefire at the 4100 block of Old County Road 280 in the Sterrett community.

Upon arrival, a deputy found the residence involved with fire and smoke, and witnesses advised the deputy that the residence was occupied.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that the deputy went to the rear of the house, forced entry and retrieved the occupant.

&uot;Unfortunately&uot; the Sheriff’s Office reported, 93-year-old resident Ruby Ray Gowers &uot;was pronounced dead at the scene.&uot;

County Coroner Doug Ballard Jr. said Gowers was pronounced dead by Chief Deputy Coroner Kyle McDonnell. Ballard said the cause of death was smoke inhalation.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that Westover, Harpersville and Chelsea Fire Departments responded to the scene and extinguished the fire.

It was also noted that Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies will assist the State

Fire Marshall’s office with the continuing investigation.

&uot;This is a tragic loss for family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them,&uot; Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said.

While the fire remains under investigation at this time, there is no indication of foul play, according to acting State Fire Marshall Richard Montgomery.

He said the fire appears to be an &uot;accident.