Three Adults, Two Children Lose All Belongings
A local family is reeling after a Sunday morning destroyed their home and claimed the life of a loved one.
The Sunday morning fire on Highway 143 at Des Arc claimed the life of Merilyn Baldwin 71, and left her daughter Kati Garci and her grandson David Burch along with his Whitney and two small children homeless.
The fire was dispatched at 8:23 a.m. The Iron County Sheriff’s Department were the first to arrive on scene and reported that the home was engulfed in flames.
Firefighters from the Southern Iron County Fire Protection District as well as the Clearwater Fire Protection District and Piedmont City Fire Department fought the inferno. Among the local firefighters who responded to the fire, at least two had ties to the family. When the CFPD firefighters returned to its Piedmont station, Piedmont Police Chief Richard Sanders, who is a pastor, came to the station and counseled those who had ties to the family.
Garcia and the Burch family were able to escape the burning house. According to Southern Iron County Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Ashlock, Baldwin was trapped inside.
“Conditions were not survivable at the time of our arrival, and it was too dangerous for personnel to attempt entry (into the residence),” Ashlock said.
Ashlock said firefighters then focused efforts on trying to preserving the area of the home where they thought Baldwin was located. Firefighters were able to locate her and Iron County Coroner Tim Harbison pronounced her dead at the scene.
According to Harbison, an autopsy was performed on Monday, Feb. 1, in Farmington. “The cause of death is awaiting testing, but no foul play is expected,” he said.
The incident is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office at this time.
The Clearwater Outreach Center opened its doors Sunday to help the family. They were able to get clothes and a few toys for the children. A Go FundMe account has been set up to help Garcia and the Burch family. They are also looking for a place to live in order to restart their life. If people do not want to donate money, the family will accept donations of food and household items.
The Sunday morning fire was just one of several that the CFPD responded to over the last few days. Sunday evening, firefighters fought a garage fire at Robert Fulton’s residence in Patterson. On Friday, CFPD firefighters were called to fight a mobile home fire near Patterson.