AFD: Smoking cause of fatal fire

ALBANY, Ga. -- Smoking in the bedroom is believed to have started the blaze that killed a 66-year-old woman in the Rawson Circle area over the weekend, Albany Fire Department Chief James Carswell said Monday.

Just before 9 a.m. Sunday, units responded to the 1200 block of North McKinley Street regarding a home on fire at nearby 717 Fourth Ave.

When they arrived, firefighters found smoke coming out of the house and flames coming out of the bedroom window.

"It was burning pretty good when we got there," Carswell said.

When they got to the bedroom of the house, public safety officials found the body of 66-year-old Elizabeth Barry in a bed. Carswell said the investigation into the fire found that the blaze appeared to be smoking related, although it was not clear whether Barry was smoking in bed or if the ashtray had gotten too close to the bed.

Most of the fire damage was contained to the bedroom, with smoke damage throughout the house, Carswell said.

In terms of monetary value, it is estimated there was roughly $50,000 in property damage done, the fire chief said.

Since January 2010, there have been four fire fatalities investigated by the AFD, three of which have been smoking related, Carswell said.