Woolsey fire claims three lives


The three victims of the Saturday night home fire on Ga. Highway 92 South all died of smoke inhalation, two of them only a few feet from the front door, officials said.

The victims in the April 5 house fire were 61-year-old Valerie Phillips, 64-year-old Darrell Phillips and their daughter, 30-year-old Emily, according to Fayette County Fire Chief David Scarbrough.

Scarbrough said autopsies by the Ga. Bureau of Investigation confirmed that all three family members died of smoke inhalation and that dental records had been used to positively identify the victims.

Scarbrough said four vehicles were parked at the residence, leading to the initial concern that others might have been present in the residence.

One report said two of the victims were overcome by the smoke within 10 to 12 feet of the front door, while a third was found beside a bed.

Fayette County Fire and Emergency Services (FES) Division Chief Pete Nelms said firefighters responded to a reported single-family structure fire at 2102 Ga. Highway 92 South near Woolsey after a citizen driving by the location at 10:59 p.m. Saturday reported the blaze.

Nelms said units were dispatched at 11 p.m., with the first engine arriving at 11:04 p.m. and reporting that the structure was heavily involved in fire.

The investigation is ongoing, Nelms said. Investigators from both FES and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Nelms said the department will be releasing additional information as it becomes available regarding the investigation and cause of the fire.

Multiple units responded to the fire, as did a host of department personnel and fire investigators and the Fayette County Sheriff’s deputies, Nelms said.