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Fire victim died of smoke inhalation

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Jan. 26, 2001
Lauderdale County Coroner Marl Cobler said Thursday an autopsy report revealed a 69-year-old woman involved in a fire at her home late Sunday night died of smoke inhalation.
Firefighters were called to the scene at 1405 29th Ave. around 10:30 p.m. They found Arlena Butler lying on the floor next to a space heater.
Butler's body was transported to the Mississippi Mortuary earlier this week. The autopsy was expected to rule out foul play, said Clayton Cobler, deputy medical examiner investigator. At the time, officials were unable to determine the exact cause of death, although they suspected the death was accidental.
Firefighters said there were no flames in the house when they arrived. Butler had apparently gotten too close to the space heater, which ignited her night clothes, Clayton Cobler said.
Butler was already dead by the time firefighters arrived. Her roommates, both of whom are in their 90s, escaped the home unharmed.
Marl Cobler said the death has been officially ruled as accidental.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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