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Blanket likely ignited deadly fire

The house fire that claimed the life of a Butler County woman in December was likely started by flammable material being placed to close to a space heater, according to the state’s fire marshal.

“We have not been able to eliminate the probability that there may have been combustible materials near a heater,” said Ed Paulk, Alabama State Fire Marshal.

Gladys Lloyd, 90, died when her home off of Old Stage Road suddenly caught fire in the early morning hours of Dec. 30.

Members of the Searcy and Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Departments and the Greenville Fire Department responded to an emergency call a 5:55 a.m. but by then the wooden-framed home where Lloyd lived alone was consumed by fire.

Paulk said the thorough destruction of the home makes pinpointing the exact cause of the fire difficult for investigators. Lloyd’s body was discovered in what looked like a hallway. The fire started in the back of home, possibly in Lloyd’s bedroom.

“We didn’t find anything out of the ordinary,” said Paulk.

An autopsy is still being conducted to determine the cause of death, whether from smoke inhalation or burns.