Just before dark on Christmas Day, Montgomery County Firefighters responded to a mobile home fire in the 17900 Block of Deer Glen Drive in the Country West Subdivision in East Montgomery County. Initial 911 reports began coming in just before 5:30pm, with callers stating that flames were already coming from the mobile home.
The first units arrived on scene within minutes but were unable to enter the home, as it was already fully involved in fire. Firefighters knocked down the flames and then entered the home, where they found the home’s lone occupant deceased in a bathroom.
This morning an autopsy was conducted at the Montgomery County Medical Examiner’s Office. The victim has not been positively identified at this time, but is believed to be that of 69 yr. old Lolita Browne, the lone occupant of the home at the time of the fire. Preliminary autopsy results indicate that the victim died of smoke inhalation, however additional testing is underway to determine the levels of carbon monoxide and other toxic fire gases which likely contributed to her death. The investigation is continuing and the cause has not been determined at this time.
Investigators have learned that there were no working smoke detectors in the home. Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide are produced in large volumes in most modern home fires, and can incapacitate occupants long before they are alerted to smoke and flames, particularly if they are sleeping.
Having a working smoke detector in your home cuts the chances of you or your family dying in a fire by 50%. Nationwide surveys indicate that more than 1/3 of detectors in homes today will not function due to missing or dead batteries.