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Blaze in Sumter kills one; injuries another

A Sunday fire at 608 R.W. Jones Road in Sumter County destroyed a home and killed one woman and a dog. Another woman is currently being treated for injuries. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire.

A Sunday fire at 608 R.W. Jones Road in Sumter County destroyed a home and killed one woman and a dog. Another woman is currently being treated for injuries. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire.

AMERICUS, Ga. -- A fire in a single family dwelling that killed one woman and injured another in Sumter County on Sunday remains under investigation, officials say.

John Ekaitis, fire chief for the Sumter County Fire Department, said that a call came in at 1:45 p.m. regarding an incident at 608 R.W. Jones Road in rural southern Sumter County.

"Once we arrived, the home was fully involved," said Ekaitis.

In all, there were six trucks and 31 county firefighters who responded to the blaze, which ultimately resulted in one fatality and another person in the home being airlifted to a hospital in Macon, the fire chief said.

Officials from the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, the Lee County Fire Department and the Georgia Fire Marshall's Office were among those to respond to the scene, Ekaitis said.

The deceased has been identified by state and local officials as Doris Fields, 68, with Doris Hooper, 89, as the one being injured.

Early reports indicated that the victims were daughter and mother, and that they are the sister and mother of Cordele Police Department Chief Bobby Hooper. A representative who answered the phone at the police department in Cordele on Monday was able to confirm that connection.

There was nobody else in the home, although there was a dog that died in the fire, Ekaitis said.

Glenn Allen, spokesman for the office of Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, said that investigators were looking at the possibility of someone smoking while using an oxygen tank as the cause of the fire.

"That is where the focus of our investigation is," Allen said.

Fields' body is being taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for an autopsy. Investigators plan to interview the elder Hooper regarding the fire, although foul play is not suspected, Allen said.

Hooper's injuries were sustained from her attempting to put out the blaze on Fields as well as on the couch. She was overcome with smoke, but a neighbor came in and pulled her out of the house, Allen added.

The home is a total loss, officials say.