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Door locks thwart escape in fatal downtown Macon fire

Eugene Wynn was inches away from escaping his burning home Friday morning when he apparently succumbed to smoke inhalation.

The body of the 57-year-old man was found inside the heavily locked front door of a duplex at 444 Bay St. that caught fire sometime before 6:25 a.m.

A pad lock secured the screen door, and three to four latches bolted the inside door, according to a report.

“He had everything locked to keep folks out, but it actually just kept him from getting out,” said Sgt. Ben Gleaton, who is investigating the blaze for the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department.

Gleaton determined that the fire started on a bed or mattress in a rear bedroom.

“He’s reported to be a smoker. That’s my best guess. I can’t say for sure,” he said.

Nor can Gleaton determine whether Wynn had a working smoke detector in the half-a-house the landlord told the investigator he had called home for “quite some time.”

The roof of the back of the building caved in as the intense flames lit up the sky about 30 minutes before sunrise.

“I didn’t see (a smoke detector), let’s put it that way, with the way that roof collapsed,” Gleaton said.

Three minutes after the radio alerted crews of a structure fire, firefighters from a few blocks away arrived to find flames shooting through the roof of the 1920 wooden building between Third Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Fire Chief Marvin Riggins said.

“There was a lot of fire concentrated back in that rear corner of the house,” Riggins said.

The left side of the building, 442 Bay St., was vacant without utilities hooked up, but Wynn’s side did have electricity.

“I think they did a good job keeping it from spreading,” Riggins said.

Additional fire engines responded when other buildings were in jeopardy.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said an autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning to determine the cause of the county’s first fire fatality of 2011.

“The first one this year, and I hope it’s the last,” Gleaton said. “Sure, locks and burglar bars are nice, but it’s just too hard to fumble around to unlock them in the dark of all that smoke.”



Author: Haining Anjie Locks Co., Ltd
Main Product:pad lock,gun lock,cable lock

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