SBI report pending in fatal fire

Published 9:13 am Tuesday, February 9, 2010

WOODLAND — The name of an elderly woman killed in a fire here last week has been released as local law enforcement awaits a report on the cause of the blaze.

Woodland Police Chief Jesse Stevens said Louise Lassiter, 78, was the victim of a residential fire that occurred at 418 Ashe Street on January 31.

The chief said he is awaiting the report from the State Bureau of Investigation Arson Team into the cause of the fire.

Stevens said he is also waiting for the results of an autopsy, but victim’s cause of death could be from smoke inhalation. He added the blaze is believed to have started in a back bedroom of the home, which is also believed to have been Lassiter’s bedroom.

Stevens said the family was leasing the home at the time of the fire.

Approximately 28 firefighters and four engines from fire departments in Woodland and Rich Square battled the blaze that was reported at 4:15 a.m. on January 31.

The fire was in such a state of involvement at the time of their arrival that firefighters could not make entry.

The crews were able to knock down the fire in 10 minutes and secured the scene and worked on hot spots until the SBI Arson Team arrived.