Mother, 3 daughters killed in Macon fire

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A Macon-Bibb County firefighter throws debris from the roof of a duplex. Middle Georgia fire officials said they didn't find evidence of smoke detectors after a fire at a duplex killed a mother and her three daughters.   BEAU CABELL/ THE MACON TELEGRAPH/ASSOCIATED PRESS
BEAU CABELL/ THE MACON TELEGRAPH/ASSOCIATED PRESS
A Macon-Bibb County firefighter throws debris from the roof of a duplex. Middle Georgia fire officials said they didn't find evidence of smoke detectors after a fire at a duplex killed a mother and her three daughters.

MACON, Ga. — An early-morning fire swept through a duplex in Macon on Thursday, killing a mother and three of her daughters.

The blaze was reported shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday on Carmen Place in the central Georgia city. The first firefighters to arrive were able to rescue a man and two teenage boys, The Telegraph of Macon reported.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones says fire crews found the bodies while fighting the flames.

Jones identified the victims as 36-year-old Jennifer Caffee; 10-year-old Wendy Chapman, who had cerebral palsy and used a wheelchair; 13-year-old Elizabeth
Caffee and 5-year-old Holly Tucker.

A 38-year-old man and two teenage boys were taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia, authorities said.

Doctors were preparing to transfer the man from the Macon hospital to a burn unit in Augusta, Jones said. The boys, ages 15 and 17, were both being treated in the Macon hospital’s emergency room, he said.

The blaze apparently started in the attic, but the cause was unknown, Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins told WMAZ-TV.

Jones said investigators found no evidence of working smoke detectors in the house.

Teresa Walker said she awoke to the smoke in another unit of the duplex, but the flames were outside her door and she couldn’t get out.

“I walked through the whole apartment, trying to get out,” said Walker, who is on crutches after her right leg was amputated below the knee last year.

“I couldn’t get out the front or the back, so I had to dive out the window with one leg,” Walker told the Macon newspaper.

Residents said there was no way to rescue the victims in the corner unit, where the bodies were found.

Firefighters were able to recover the first body by 3:50 a.m., but flames were still flaring up through the attic. It was after 5 a.m. before the brick building had cooled enough that it was safe for firefighters to remove the other three.


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