Family and friends gather outside 1809 Antioch Road Tuesday as the body of of 75-year-old Marvin Collins is removed from his residence. Officials responded to a fire at the home and found Collins’ body inside.
ALBANY, Ga. — Firefighters responded to a call about a fire at 1803 Antioch Road in Putney Tuesday afternoon and found the body of a 75-year-old man in the smoldering interior, officials stated.
While relatives stood on the lawn in front of the brick ranch-style home shaded by tall trees, Dougherty County EMS personnel moved the body into the ambulance at about 4:35 p.m. The body was taken to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
A family friend leaving the scene identified the deceased as Marvin Collins. An official later confirmed the identification.
"It appears he was a heavy smoker," said Emma Quimbley, Dougherty County coroner. "A cigarette was inserted in the chair and caused the ignition. We treat all deaths as homicides until we complete an investigation."
Although the home's exterior showed little if any damage, the interior was described as severely damaged by smoke. No cause of death was immediately available. Typically an autopsy is scheduled.
One of Collins' sons found him when he couldn't get in touch with him by phone, Quimbley said.
"The last contact anyone had with him (Collins) was at about 8:30 p.m. last night (Monday)," Quimbley said. "His son came over and found him and the smoldering house. He called it in."
Collins' family members and friends declined interviews at the scene. The death and fire remain under investigation by Quimbley, Sam Harris, Albany Fire Department arson investigator and Dougherty County Police Department investigators.
Original story filed 4:24 p.m.
Albany Fire Dept. Chief James Carswell reported that his firefighters were called out to a building on fire at the 1300 block of Antioch Road and Putney. While there, a body was discovered. The Dougherty County Police Department was called. This is an ongoing investigation.
There are people, probably relatives and friends of the victim hugging each other at 1809 Antioch Road. DCPD officers are here and the scene is marked off with yellow crime tape. There are two fire trucks and Doughtery County EMS.
The house is a brick single-story ranch house and does not appear to have any fire damage on the outside.