Autopsy confirms identity of fire victim

Published 11:01 am Friday, December 16, 2016

The cause of a fire that killed a Winchester woman early Thursday morning is still under investigation.

Winchester-Fire EMS Fire Marshal Gary Henry said nothing about the fire that killed 85-year-old Lilly Strange appears suspicious, but he and his team will continue to work to find the point of origin.

“As for the cause, we generally search for the point of origin, then insurance companies might hire private investigators to do more extensive research,” Henry said.

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Henry said the fire totally destroyed the home and the extension damage makes it much more difficult to pinpoint where the fire started. He said his team has narrowed down some possible points of origin, but he declined to comment on the possibilities until lab results are returned. Henry said it could take months for those results to be available.

The fire was reported about 4:30 a.m. Thursday with calls of smoke and fire in the area, and later pinpointed to 2 Navajo Trail.

Relatives confirmed there was someone inside the single-story house, but the fire was so large firefighters had to fight flames before they could enter to search for the person.

Clark County Coroner Robert Gayheart said preliminary results of an autopsy performed this morning confirmed Strange’s identity.

“Because of the extension nature of the fire, we had to wait for the autopsy results before we could confirm her identity,” he said.

The autopsy also confirmed the cause of death of smoke inhalation.

Winchester Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Jason Keller said Thursday another person lived in the house, but was not home at the time of the fire.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0049.

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