Man, 58, dead after morning fire; GBI to investigate

A 58-year-old man died this morning after a fire in his apartment at the Richmond Summit, 744 Broad Street.

Deputy Coroner Johnny McDonald identified the victim as John Fox Dryden III, and said today was his birthday.

The body has been sent to the state crime laboratory in Atlanta and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation will work to determine the cause of death, Mr. McDonald said.

Augusta Fire Chief Howard Willis was at the scene and said the fire was confined to Mr. Dryden's apartment -- No. 413. Other apartments sustained smoke and water damage, he said, but "the sprinkler system held it in check."

The Red Cross is helping many of the residents affected by the blaze.

The fire was reported about 3 a.m. and firefighters arrived at 3:04 a.m.

Many of those evacuated into the subfreezing morning were temporarily given shelter in a nearby police substation, as well as the lobby of The Augusta Chronicle's News Building.

At one point as many as 75 people were in the newspaper's lobby, a sheriff's deputy said.

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