Family members believe a 64-year-old DeKalb County woman’s clothes caught fire, preventing her from being able to escape from the home where she lived most of her life.
Ruby Joann Eskew died after the fire broke out Wednesday night in her home in the 3600 block of Sheffield Place in Tucker. Eskew’s daughter and son-in-law, who also lived in the home, were able to escape unharmed, the family said.
DeKalb fire Deputy Chief Norman Augustin told Channel 2 Action News that the home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, shortly after 10 p.m. Firefighters were able to pull Eskew from the home, but she died while headed to Grady Memorial Hospital.
Joy Nesbitt, Eskew’s sister, told Channel 2 her sister was in her favorite recliner when the fire started.
“If it wasn’t a cigarette, maybe a candle, but the neighbors have said there were two loud explosions,” Nesbitt said. “She was on fire as she was going down the hall. They wouldn’t let us see her when we got here last night.”
Nesbitt and other family members were at the home Thursday, sorting through what was left of a home that had been in the family for 50 years. Among the items the family salvaged were a Bible that Eskew had as a child, photographs and knitted blankets, Nesbitt said.
“Out of 50 years of memories, this is what’s left,” Nesbitt said.
Funeral arrangements were pending for Eskew, a 1966 graduate of Tucker High School.