Origin of fatal fire revealed

Staff report

DOBSON — A house fire that claimed the life of a Dobson woman was started by the victim, according to a Surry County official.

Lisa Kay White Johnson, 39, was found unresponsive inside a burning home at 264 Welcome View Church Road south of Dobson Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters pulled her to safety only to find she had already succumbed.

Thursday, Surry County Emergency Services Director John Shelton, who also serves as the county’s medical examiner, said it appears Johnson started the blaze that ultimately claimed her life.

He said the fire was started on top of a love seat in the living room.

Shelton said it appears she died of smoke inhalation, although the exact cause of death won’t be known until an autopsy is completed.

The Surry County dispatch center received the call at 1:48 p.m. Wednesday from a person who was driving by and noticed smoke rising from the brick home.

Area volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze, which gutted the inside of the residence. Shortly after arriving on the scene they discovered Johnson was inside, and were able to pull her from the blaze.

Further searching found no other people inside the residence, according to Shelton.

The body was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where the autopsy was to be performed.

As is the case with any fire fatality, Shelton said, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation was contacted to assist the Surry County Sheriff’s Office and the fire marshal.

Shelton was unable to release additional information regarding how she may have started the fire, if it was accidental in nature, or her possible motivation if not.


Staff report

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