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What killed burn victim still mystery

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- Local authorities are investigating the death of a 40-year-old woman who died after returning to Albany days after her release from an Augusta burn center.

On Nov. 13, Flora Hoskins was severely burned when her clothing caught on fire from a space heater in her 515 N. Washington St. residence, said Albany Fire Department Chief James Carswell.

"She was taken to Phoebe (Putney Putney Memorial Hospital), then to the burn center in Augusta," Carswell said. "She was released from the burn center and died days later on Nov. 22."

It is unclear whether the death is related to the burns, said Dougherty County Coroner Emma Quimbley. The body was examined at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Macon, but the results are not yet available, she added.

"They usually have to wait for toxicology reports to come back before issuing a report," Quimbley said. "There are lots of unanswered questions. We don't know what happened in between her release

and the day she died on Teche (Avenue)."

Apparently, from the 911 call tape, Hoskins clothing caught fire when she got too close to a gas-fired space heater, Carswell said. She was not alone because someone ripped her burning clothes off and put the fire out, he added.

"We are looking for witnesses," Carswell said. "We are trying to piece this together working backwards (from Hoskins death)."

Possibly because of the holiday period, Quimbley has not yet been able to reach the burn center to get details on the case. The investigation, which includes the Albany Police Department, will resume in earnest Monday.

Carswell urged people to be careful around space heaters. On average, there are two deaths a year in the area because of space heaters, he said.

"When it gets cold, people tend to get close to the heaters for warmth," Carswell said. "That isn't very safe."

Hoskins body was taken to the Meadows Funeral Home on South Madison Street. She is scheduled to be buried Saturday, a funeral home employee said.