Lincoln County’s sheriff says an 89-year-old Prague mother walked through fire in her mobile home Monday in an attempt to reach her son’s room on the other side, but both of them died in that blaze.
Sheriff Charlie Dougherty said Frances Heath, 89, and her partially disabled son, Terry Lee Heath, 56, were found in a hallway inside their soot-filled mobile home after a fire there smoldered out before being visible on the outside.
The sheriff said the fire occurred the day after Frances Heath and her family celebrated Mother’s Day in the home at 350710 E. 1020 Road, which is in a rural area northeast of Prague.
Dougherty said a 911 call about 11:35 a.m. Monday reported two bodies inside the mobile home. When deputies and District Attorney’s task force investigators arrived, Prague firefighters were on scene and had already discovered the fire was out.
“The fire ran out of oxygen,” the sheriff said.
The preliminary investigation indicates the fire began in the center part of the home, Dougherty said, which was a living room area with couches. Each of the victims had bedrooms on opposite ends of the mobile home, he added.
Dougherty said it appears the mother got up from her bedroom and started across the home to get to her son.
“She went through fire to try to get to her son,” the sheriff said, adding she collapsed in a hallway next to her son’s room with burns covering about 90 percent of her body.
The sheriff said Terry Heath also was trying to help his mother as he was found in the same hallway. He died with a cell phone in his hand, Dougherty said.
The sheriff said Frances Heath’s other son, who lives in a separate residence on the property, discovered there had been a fire and called 911. Investigators believe the fire occurred Monday morning since the other son had a missed call from his brother on his cell phone at about 9:02 a.m., the sheriff said.
Dougherty, who said no one in the home smoked cigarettes and there were no reported candles, said while the investigation is still in the early stages, a possible electrical short behind one of the couches could be a possible cause of this blaze. Dougherty said foul play is not suspected.
The state medical examiner will determine causes of death for both mother and son.
No other information was available late Monday.