By Max Hrenda
The Carter County Sheriff’s Department has revealed that Tracy Parsons, 52, was killed Sunday morning after her house at 1427 Riverview Drive caught fire.
In a press release, Sheriff Chris Mathes said that, shortly after 9 a.m., several of his officers and firefighters with the Hampton/Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call. According to HVFVFD Chief Johnny Isaacs, once on the scene, he and his crew were able to localize the fire to the kitchen, where authorities believe the fire started.
“It was contained to the kitchen and it got into the attic a little bit,” Isaacs said. “We contained it to the kitchen area, but the house got a lot of smoke and a lot of heat.”
Authorities believe that smoke may have led to Tracy Parsons’ death through smoke inhalation.
“I feel very comfortable saying that she probably succumbed to smoke inhalation very rapidly,” said CCSD Capt. Mike Little. “It does not take long at all for that to occur.”
In addition to potentially causing her death, Little said that the heavy amount of smoke may have also impeded any escape attempts on her part.
“I would say that she was unable to make it out due to the large amount of smoke,” Little said. “When you’re dealing with that amount of smoke, you’re not going to see your hand in front of your face.”
Little said the door to Tracy Parsons’ bedroom was open, which may have allowed smoke to fill the room quickly. Her relatives, however, may have been more fortunate in that respect.
In the press release, Mathes said that, before authorities arrived, smoke was noticed coming from the residence by passersby and members of the nearby Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church. After contacting emergency services, Mathes said some of those churchgoers – Jeff Underwood, Clark Verran, Jay Kyte, and Bobby James – helped extricate two additional people – Tracy Parsons’ daughter, Esther Locke, 26, and her 4-year-old son, Aiden – from the home. Little said the door to their room was closed, and that little smoke damage was visible.
Tracy Parsons’ husband, Bill Parsons, was away of the home undergoing medical treatment at the time of the incident. Bill Parsons works as the advertising director for the STAR.
In the release, Mathes said that the fire appears to have started in the area of the kitchen stove. The investigation is ongoing.
Authorities say that a woman was killed after her house caught fire early Sunday morning.
Emergency crews responded the a call of a house fire at 1427 Riverview Drive, Elizabethton, at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. Initial reports revealed that the fire was localized in the house’s kitchen, while the rest of the house took on “a lot of” heat and smoke damage.
More details will follow as they are made available. Check back with the STAR throughout the day to learn more on this story.