Fire was quick, deadly, say officials

Published 10:52 am Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A 90-year-old Butler County woman was killed during an early morning house fire off of Old Stage Road on Tuesday.

Officials said Gladys Lloyd died when her home on Tyson Lane caught fire at approximately 5:55 a.m. Members of the Searcy and Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Departments responded to the call, as well as the Greenville Fire Department.

Searcy Fire Chief Gene Gibson said when his personnel arrived on the scene the blaze had completely engulfed the wooden-framed house where Lloyd lived alone.

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“By the time we got here the roof had already fallen in,” he said. “When the roof goes, there’s not much you can do. I’ve been with the fire service for 19 years and this is my first fatality. I don’t ever want to see it again.”

Firefighters worked to control the fire and also protect the surrounding area, said Gibson. Burn marks to the grass and several trees were evident around the home.

At 10 a.m. all that was left of Lloyd’s residence was smoldering black wood, charred appliances and three chimneys. Officials with the state fire marshal’s office inspected the damage for clues to the cause of the fire.

Sheriff Kenny Harden said Lloyd was last seen at 5:30 p.m. on Monday by neighbors.

He said Lloyd’s body was discovered in what looked like a hallway. He thinks the fire started from somewhere in the back of home, possibly in Lloyd’s bedroom.

Harden said an autopsy is being conducted to determine the exact cause of Lloyd’s death, whether from smoke inhalation or from burns.