The Washington Times-Herald

November 27, 2012

Woman died from smoke in apt. fire

By Andrea McCann
Washington Times Herald

ODON — A Capehart Manor resident died of smoke inhalation Saturday after her apartment caught fire.

Edith Joyce, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Coroner Dean Guthrey, according tocurrent chief deputy and incoming Coroner Laura Petty. Dr. James Jacobi determined the cause of death at an autopsy performed Sunday at Gill’s Funeral Home, Petty said.

According to a press release from the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office, a resident of a neighboring apartment called sheriff’s dispatch at 1:19 p.m., saying there was a fire in apartment 209 and a person was trapped inside. The Odon Volunteer Fire Department arrived at 1:23 p.m. and discovered smoke in the hallway.

OVFD Fire Chief Leo Simmons said firefighters didn’t even need a hose because the fire already had almost put itself out.

He said they used water from a sink in the apartment to finish extinguishing it.

“It pretty much put itself out because it was in the apartment with the windows and doors closed, and it ran out of oxygen,” Simmons explained.

After extinguishing the second-floor fire, they found Joyce’s body. Her dog also died in the fire, but there were no other injuries.

For their safety, tenants were evacuated from the 36-apartment building, located at 300 N. West St., for four or five hours, according to Odon Deputy Marshal Scott Noble.

Some of the Capehart Manor residents were bused to the Odon Community Building by a North Daviess school bus, which DCSO Detective Kevin Eaton said was much appreciated.

“The rest went with friends and family,” Noble said.

An arson investigator with the State Fire Marshal’s Office was on the scene Saturday to investigate the fire’s cause. He indicated it was accidental due to a burning cigarette on the sofa, according to Eaton.

Simmons said he hasn’t heard from the insurance investigator yet with a damage estimate, but the fire damage was contained to one apartment and most of the smoke went up to third floor.

“Her apartment was the only one with fire damage, but the second and third floors had smoke damage throughout,” Eaton said.

Madison Township Volunteer Fire Department and Southwest Medical also assisted at the scene.