A 22-year-old woman died in a house fire Sunday morning in east Baldwin County.
The fatal fire remained under investigation Sunday night by officials with Baldwin County Fire Rescue, as well as the Baldwin County Coroner’s Office.
Two other women, including the victim’s mother, escaped the burning house, located on Sparta Highway, without injury.
A dog and two cats were not as fortunate. All three perished in the house fire, which was reported via a 911 telephone call shortly before 11 a.m.
The victim was identified as Brittany Spell, whose body was found by firefighters in an upstairs bedroom of the split-level, partial brick and wood dwelling, according to Baldwin County Fire Rescue Chief Victor Young.
“The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time,” Young told The Union-Recorder.
The fire chief said the fire started downstairs and spread upstairs.
Spell was pronounced dead at the scene by Baldwin County Chief Deputy Coroner Ken Garland, said Lt. Bradley Towe, who is investigating the cause of the blaze.
The victim’s body was taken to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory for an autopsy. The autopsy will establish the exact cause of the victim’s death.
Kimberly Browning and Sydney McCarey, who is nearly four months pregnant, escaped the burning house.
Kimberly’s daughter, who was mentally impaired, fell asleep on the couch in the living room downstairs Saturday night.
Her mother said her daughter sometimes slept on the couch and sometimes in a bedroom.
“I feel like just breaking down; I already have once,” said Browning, who told the newspaper that she was asleep upstairs when the fire broke out. “My son’s girlfriend, Sydney [McCarey], ran upstairs and said, ‘Oh my God, Brittany caught the couch on fire.’”
Browning said McCarey was either on the back porch or in the kitchen when it happened.
“She smelled smoke,” Browning said. “My daughter found a (cigarette) lighter and caught the couch on fire.”
Browning said she tried to put the fire out.
“I had my shirt over my face,” Browning recalled. “I kept running back and forth with pots of water to try and put the fire out. I kept running back and forth from the bathroom to the living room.”
Browning said she had the fire somewhat contained.
“I had it so, so contained, and I was screaming to the 911 operator to please somebody now that I was across from the fire department,” Browning said, referring to living across the highway from Baldwin County Fire Rescue Station 5, which is manned by one firefighter at any given time.
“I told the 911 operator that my daughter was still in the house — in my room — and she is trapped up there and can’t get out,” Browning said.
Unfortunately, the flames spread quickly from the living room area and up the stairs to bedrooms and other parts of the house.
Kimberly said her husband, Marvin Shaun Browning, was not home at the time of the fire. He was working.
Jim Tutor and Paul Williams, both representatives with the American Red Cross, came to the scene Sunday afternoon and offered the family assistance. The help is being coordinated by the Red Cross’s Dublin office.
The family lost everything they own and they don’t have any fire insurance.