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Three killed in Richland house fire

An unattended stove top led to a Sunday evening house fire that claimed three lives in Richland, investigators say.

Danny Jackson, a special agent-in-charge with the Americus office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, says that the bodies of three elderly people were recovered after a fire Sunday evening.

“We don’t suspect any foul play, but we were called in out of an abundance of caution,” Jackson said.

An autopsy will be performed on the bodies Wednesday, he added.

Glenn Allen, spokesman for Insurance and Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office, said that the fire occurred at a single-story home at 168 Caboose St. at around 8 p.m. Sunday.

All three occupants, two females and one male, died as a result of the fire. The deceased have been identified as Ernest Clyde Walton, 59, Barbara Ann Walton, 65, and Willie Pearl Walton, 84.

Willie Pearl Walton was the mother of the other two victims. Investigators determined that the fire was caused by an unattended stove top, Allen said.

There have been 18 fire fatalities in Georgia so far this year. Of those, five have been the resulted of food left unattended — all of which have taken place during February, Allen said.

In a news release issued Monday, Hudgens also reminded Georgians to make sure they have working smoke alarms on each level of their home.