Brundidge resident injured in early morning house fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2003

A resident of the Brundidge Retirement Center was seriously burned when her apartment caught fire around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Annie Mae Coleman, 81, Apt. 35 Walden Circle, received burns on the upper part of her body as she attempted to put out a fire that started in a chair in the living room of the apartment, said Brundidge Police Chief Moses Davenport.

"Ms. Coleman was badly burned on the upper part of her body - her arms, neck, face and head," Davenport said. "She was transported to the burn center in Birmingham and we don't know the status of her condition right now. But it was obvious that she was badly burned."

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Davenport said Coleman shared the apartment with her sister, Emma Thomas.

"From what I understand, the chair caught fire - probably from a cigarette - and the two women were trying to put it out," Davenport said. "They were obviously trying get water in pans and pour it on the fire, because when the fire department got there, the faucet in the kitchen was running wide open."

According to Davenport,

Thomas said when the smoke got so heavy it was difficult for her to breathe, she ran out the back door.

"We don't know what happen to Ms. Coleman," he said. "Either she lost her bearings in all the smoke or lost her balance and fell because she couldn't get out."

Davenport said a neighbor, Duane Ryans, heard Coleman screaming for help and kicked the door down and went in and pulled her out.

"For some reason, she couldn't get out herself," Davenport said. "There was a walking stick in the apartment. I don't know if she had difficulty walking and fell or what. But we do know that she was couldn't get out and that's probably the reason she was burned so bad."

Davenport said the fire was confined to the living area of the apartment, but the heavy smoke caused additional damage.

The fire remains under investigation.