Smoking may have caused fire that killed Georgiana woman

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 20, 2006

A residential fire that resulted in the death of a Georgiana woman on Saturday night may have been caused by cigarettes or other smoking materials, according to the Alabama State Fire Marshall.

Dorothy Dunston, 68, died during a fire at her residence on Mobile Highway, just north of Georgiana.

&#8220At present time,” said Ed Paulk, State Fire Marshall, &#8220evidence on the scene would indicate that the fire was caused by a misuse of smoking materials.”

Paulk said his department was still awaiting results of an autopsy performed on Dunston's body to determine cause of death.

&#8220More than likely she died from a combination of smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, but we'd have to wait for the autopsy to see for sure,” said Paulk.

The Alabama Department of Forensic Science is handling the autopsy, which will also include a toxicology report, said Paulk.

According to Georgiana Police Chief James Blackmon, firefighters were dispatched the scene of the fire on Saturday night at approximately 8:37 p.m.

Blackmon said he arrived at the residence a short time later.

&#8220She (Dunston) had relatives in the immediate area and in and around Butler County,” said Blackmon. &#8220She lived in the house by herself.”

Blackmon said Dunston was a retired educator from the Butler County School System.

Georgiana City Clerk Ann Browder said Dunston had served a number of years as a physical education teacher at Georgiana High School, but it was through her work at town hall where she was familiar with the deceased.

&#8220It's awful,” she said.