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Woman who died in East Hall house fire identified
A home on the 1200 block of East Ridge Road burned early Saturday morning. Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said firefighters found the body of an unidentified woman, believed to be in her early 60s, in the rear of her wooden-frame, single-story home.

A 62-year-old woman was found dead in a house fire in East Hall early Saturday, fire officials said.

Today, Hall County Coroner Marion Merck identified the victim as Patsy Rider.

An autopsy performed by the DeKalb County Medical Examiner's office determined the victim died from smoke inhalation, Hall County Deputy Coroner Cinda Anderson said.

Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said firefighters found the woman in the rear of her wooden, single-story home in the 1200 block of East Ridge Road. The 1,100 square-foot was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters responded at about 1:05 a.m.

Kimbrell said it appeared the woman awoke during the fire and tried to escape. She was about eight feet from a door, he said.

The home didn't appear to have working smoke detectors, he added.

More than 25 firefighters from three stations responded to the fire. Initial response time was about six minutes, Kimbrell said. Firefighters entered the home soon after arriving but it took some time to find the woman's body, he said.

Combustible material too close to a heater in the home appears to have caused the fire, Kimbrell said.

It was the first fatal fire in Hall County since a woman died in a house fire near Old Cornelia Highway in January 2008.