A 62-year-old woman died early Wednesday morning, and her brother was airlifted to Grady Burn Center in Atlanta after trying to save her in a fire at the mobile home where they lived.
Linda Hughes was found in a bedroom at 6224 Malibu Ridge off Spout Springs Road by Hall County Fire Services crews responding to the fire. The cause of death is unknown pending an autopsy, said spokesman Scott Cagle.
The coroner’s office confirmed Hughes’ identity Wednesday afternoon.
Michael Ellis was one of three who escaped the fire, which occurred around 12:30 a.m. He said his uncle tried to rescue Hughes — who was wheelchair-bound — by busting out windows in the home.
“I was getting ready to go to sleep, and all of a sudden the floor got really hot,” said Ellis, 20. “I heard my uncle in there with my aunty, trying to help her.”
Ellis pointed toward a bloody hand streak across the hood of a Dodge pickup truck in the driveway, attesting to the attempted rescue.
Neighbor Karen O’Hart who lives across the road from the family also saw the scene early Wednesday.
“He tried to get her out. He was breaking the windows. He tried to pull her out of there,” O’Hart said.
She remembered Hughes as “a very sweet person.”
Ronay Brown, who was a caretaker for the deceased, said she was “a warm, open-hearted person. We would spend a lot of time talking and laughing.”
Crews responding to the fire after midnight found the mobile home with heavy fire showing. They were told a woman might be inside, so they attacked the blaze from inside the home while searching for her.
Eddie Lloyd, who lives nearby, speculated that he thought the fire was related to electrical problems in the home.
“These trailers, they’re old. They’re just deathtraps,” Lloyd said.
O’Hart said she awoke early Wednesday to the sound of explosions.
“It was loud,” O’Hart said. “And we heard somebody saying, ‘help, get me out!’”
The cause of the fire is under investigation but there is nothing suspicious at this time.
“It could’ve happened to anyone,” said neighbor Tina Bailey. “I’m sorry that it happened to them. It’s so awful.”
According to Ellis, his uncle was in the trauma center at Grady Burn Center late Wednesday morning. His condition was not known.
Calls to Grady Burn Center were not returned as of press time.