Victim Died of Smoke Inhalation

Contact: John S. Robison, State Fire Marshal


The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences notified Autauga County Coroner Billy Brown this morning that Freda Erwin Poole died of smoke inhalation.  Mrs. Poole died Saturday morning during a fire at her apartment.  Mrs. Poole is the first fire fatality in Prattville since 1985.


Investigators with the Prattville Fire and Police Departments and the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office say they have eliminated all but two possibilities as the cause for the fire.  Mrs. Poole, who lived alone, was a smoker and had scented candles throughout her home.  The fire originated at a bedside table located across the room from the bed where Mrs. Poole slept.


Investigators agree the fire was a very slow smoldering type fire, but can not eliminate either a cigarette or a candle as the cause for the fire.  A lamp sitting on the table was eliminated, as was the electrical system in the apartment, as the lamp was not connected to an outlet.  The fire started on the bedroom side of the wall and burned into the wall, however, none of the insulation on any of the wiring was destroyed by the fire.  There were no other sources of ignition in the area of the table, leaving the investigators with only the two possibilities.