DeKalb woman, 68, dies after being pulled from burning home

Maxine Davis died Sunday evening, the day after firefighters pulled her from a burning DeKalb County home.
Maxine Davis died Sunday evening, the day after firefighters pulled her from a burning DeKalb County home.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

Like many Americans, Ricky Davis and his family struggled to make ends meet amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The electricity to his DeKalb County home had been shut off, and Davis said they were waiting on the latest round of stimulus payments to get their lights turned back on. In the meantime, Davis used candles to light the house he shared with his fiancee, sister and nephew.

While the exact cause remains under investigation, Davis believes those candles sparked the fire that destroyed his Gresham Park home on Saturday morning and killed his older sister, 68-year-old Maxine Davis.

DeKalb firefighters pulled the unconscious woman from her second-story bedroom after arriving at the home along Zane Grey Drive about 5 a.m., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. Emergency crews performed CPR and restored the woman’s pulse, but she died at the hospital Sunday evening, according to her family.

ExploreWoman critically injured in DeKalb house fire

“It’s sort of hard to explain,” Ricky Davis said. “You’re here one day and you’re talking to her — everybody’s happy. And the next, she’s gone.”

Ricky Davis and his fiancee woke up early Saturday and walked to a nearby convenience store. As they headed home, they were passed by several fire trucks with their sirens blaring, he said.

At first, Davis thought his neighbor must have had another flareup brought on by her long-term lung disease. But as they neared the house, he saw the smoke and flames.

A DeKalb County woman died Sunday evening, one day after firefighters pulled her from a burning home in the Gresham Park neighborhood.
A DeKalb County woman died Sunday evening, one day after firefighters pulled her from a burning home in the Gresham Park neighborhood.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Davis’ nephew Tyrone managed to make it out of the burning home. He heard his aunt calling for help, but was unable to rescue her.

“I started running toward the house and I actually tried to go in,” Ricky Davis said. “My nephew was telling me that my sister was still in there, but of course they wouldn’t let me in.”

He figured after 50 years, he knew his home better than anyone and might be able to run upstairs and bring his sister to safety.

“It hurt so bad to be there and watch what was going on and you can’t do nothing about it,” he said.

Ricky Davis described his sister as kind, funny and outgoing, the type of woman who would go out of her way to help anyone — even if she didn’t have much herself.

“She was sweet. She’d make you laugh,” he said. “She was always trying to help people when she could. If you was homeless, she’d feed you. Anything she could do, she would do it. She would think about others before she thought about herself sometimes.”

Her devastated family has been staying in a hotel room since the fire and is trying to raise money to bury her, Ricky Davis said.

“I know she’s in a better place right now, but I just want to make sure she’s laid (to rest) right,” he said.

Relatives launched a fundraising page Monday to help the family with burial expenses.

“Maxine Davis was nothing short of amazing,” the GoFundMe page reads. “She was a sister, an aunt and also very much loved by her family and close friends.”

Funeral arrangements are still being finalized and will be announced later.

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