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Natchez man dies from burns

NATCHEZ — A Natchez man died Saturday from severe burns to his upper body and face days after he fell asleep smoking a cigarette resulting in his bed and sheets catching fire.

Bill Grover Hammett, 70, 258 Country Club Drive, died at the Joseph M. Still burn center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga.

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said deputies responded to a report of a house fire at 1:06 a.m. Wednesday on Country Club Drive and made contact with Hammett who was standing outside his house.

“Apparently his family was able to put the fire out before deputies and the fire department made it out to the house,” Mayfield said. “Hammett told the deputies that he fell asleep smoking a cigarette, and it caught his bedding on fire.”

Hammett was airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Adams County Coroner James Lee said Hammett was then airlifted to the burn center in Georgia the same day for further treatment to the severe burns on his upper body and face.

Hammett was pronounced dead at 2:35 a.m. Saturday.

Mayfield said arson investigator Sgt. Buddy Frank inspected the house after the fire and was able to corroborate Hammett’s statement to deputies with evidence from the scene of the fire.

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