Natchez woman killed in apartment fire

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2001

A 39-year-old Natchez woman died Wednesday morning in a fire at an apartment on State Street. Firefighters found Erin McDonough, 39, 285 Ogden Road, in a bathtub,&160;said Deputy Chief Paul Johnson of the Natchez Fire Department.

&uot;You never get ready for anything like that,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;I’ve been here 25 years, and I’m never ready for it.&uot;

Firefighters were called to the scene at 4:57 a.m and arrived to find the front room of the two-room loft apartment fully engulfed in flames, Johnson said.

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After hearing that someone might still be inside, they knocked back the flames to search for the person.

Firefighters believe McDonough may have gone to the bathroom to escape the fire.

&uot;I know there was not a back door (to the apartment),&uot; Johnson said. &uot;Apparently she must have thought she couldn’t get out.&uot;

She was wearing clothes and there was water in the bathtub, said officials with the fire department.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it appears to have started near the front door blocking the way of escape, Johnson said.

&uot;(The apartment) was a total loss,&uot; Johnson said. &uot;It was gutted – especially the front room.&uot;

A nearby house connected to the apartment by some steps received some minor damage, Johnson said.

Dr. Linda Wilbourn of Natchez owns the property and had leased it to the victim’s mother, Barbara Tyer.