Two people were killed Wednesday morning when a space heater sparked a fire inside a Statesboro mobile home.
Photo: Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner
Photo: Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner

Space heater sparks mobile home fire, killing 2 in Statesboro

Two people were killed Wednesday morning when a space heater sparked a fire inside a Bulloch County mobile home, authorities said. 

Statesboro firefighters were dispatched to the trailer fire in the 600 block of Bell Road shortly after 1 a.m., Georgia Safety Fire Commissioner John King said in a news release. 

When they made their way inside, they found 44-year-old Leslie Anne Dixon in critical condition and 20-year-old Anderson Spitler dead on the floor of a bathroom, authorities said.

Dixon was taken to East Georgia Medical Center, where she died about an hour after the fire was reported, King said. Two other people inside the home were able to escape without injuries. 

Investigators determined the fire was caused by clothing that was placed too close to a space heater in the master bedroom of the 34-year-old trailer. There were also no smoke detectors found inside the home, according to authorities. 

The bodies of Dixon and Spitler were not sent to the GBI for autopsies because of the “overwhelming evidence” that their deaths were caused by smoke and soot inhalation, King said. 

“I cannot stress how important it is to practice extreme caution when using space heaters,” he said. “Though these devices keep us warm and comfortable, they can be very dangerous if they are not used properly. In addition, it is absolutely essential that every Georgia family has a properly working smoke detector in their homes.”

Fires have killed 77 people in Georgia this year, including 64 people who died in 53 residential fires, according to the Georgia Department of Insurance. Only five of those homes had working smoke alarms. 

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