Disabled woman dies in early morning house fire in Whitehaven

Updated: Jan. 14, 2020 at 12:37 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Fire investigators say a candle is what caused a house fire in Whitehaven killing one woman. Those who know the victim said she was disabled and needed a wheelchair to get around.

“I’m not sure what happened,” the victim’s roommate, Ashanti Goolsby, said. “All I know is I woke up to a fire.”

Goolsby said when she ran out of the burning home where she was staying on Wilson Road she darted down the street to find a neighbor to call 911. The Whitehaven home caught fire before 5:30 Tuesday morning.

Goolsby said she was sleeping when the fire happened and didn't wake up until she heard her roommate screaming. “I heard Kim yelling fire, fire, fire,” Goolsby said.

“During our interior search procedures, we located the body of an adult female in the back bedroom,” Memphis Fire Lt. Wayne Cooke said.

The roommate who warned Goolsby of the fire did not make it out. Those who knew her called her Miss Kim.

“She was a great person. She was a sweetheart,” Goolsby said. Dodie, a woman at the scene of the fire who said she took care of the victim, said Miss Kim was 54 years old and needed a wheelchair to move.

Goolsby and Dodie also said 3 dogs in the home at the time of the fire were unaccounted for, and they know a fourth dog did not make it out alive.

Firefighters said Goolsby and one other person who was home at the time of the were able to escape.

Fire officials say the Red Cross is helping three adults who lived in the home. A total of $25,000 in damage was caused by the fire.

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