Cause of fatal house fire undetermined

By Lucas Vance lvance@civitasmedia.com

July 26, 2014

LAKE WATEREE — One week after woman and her three dogs died in a house fire, the investigation has concluded the cause of the fire to be undetermined, officials said.

Dianna Woods, 53, was found with her three dogs in the upstairs bathroom area of the home, according to Fairfield County Coroner Barkely Ramsey.

Ramsey said the autopsy showed Woods died from carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal damage to the skin due to a house fire, which mirrored his initial report. No additional injuries were reported.

“We’ll never be able to explain to them what happened, what caused the fire, but there’s no foul play expected or no arson expected,” he said. The blood toxicology report has not been completed.

Woods’ death is the first due to a house fire in Fairfield County since 2005.

Woods and her husband, Bradford, awoke around 11 p.m. July 18 to a fire blocking both exits. Bradford Wood entered the upstairs bathroom with his wife and three dogs, knocked the window out and jumped out.

“She stayed in the house with the dogs,” Ramsey stated. “She did not jump out the window when he (Bradford Wood) came out.”

Bradford was able to crawl to his neighbors house and tell them the house was on fire with his wife still inside. The home had already collapsed when fire fighters arrived.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office investigated the fire, but Fairfield County Fire Marshal Tony Hill said the cause was left undetermined because the house was so badly burned.

“Everything was burnt and collapsed and we won’t ever find out what caused the fire,” he said Monday.

Hill said the house was fully engulfed in flames when the fire department arrived 11 minutes after receiving the call.

“Nobody saw it because everybody was asleep,” Hill explained. “The fire went on until the neighbors heard something explode.”

Hill said the explosion could have been from one of two vehicles parked underneath the house or the gas tank on a barbecue grill.

Bradford Woods was taken to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., with burns and broken bones from the fall, but has since been released to an Augusta hospital.

“He’s apparently in stable condition,” Ramsey said. “But he will have to return to the burn center to undergo some surgeries for some other problems he had from the fire.”