MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- A house fire in Macon that killed an elderly woman was ruled as accidental.
According to a Macon Police Department news release, investigators believe the fire was caused by a space heater. It states 86-year-old Elanor Stranahan was unable to get out of the home and died in the fire.
The Macon-Bibb County Fire Department's quick response time could not save a woman from dying in her home this afternoon after it went up in flames.
The house was clearly damaged--a chargrilled window was all that could be seen from the road, but the worst damage wasn't structural.
"She was just one of the most blessed people you'd ever want to know," said Betty Williams, a friend of Stranahan's.
86-year-old Eleanor Stranahan died this afternoon from smoke and fire-related injuries in her home on Alfred Drive.
Officials say the call came in just before 4 p.m., and as firefighters arrived, the house was up in flames.
"The neighbors were advising at that point that someone was inside of the structure. So they made a quick attack and by the time they made it inside the structure it was pretty well buttoned down pretty good, but by the time we were able to get inside of the structure and make a knockdown on the fire, unfortunately she had succumbed to the heat and smoke injuries," said Chief Marvin Riggins of the Macon-Bibb Fire Department.
The lone resident of her home, Stranahan left behind a strong community of friends including Betty Williams, who remembered her from church.
"She was a wonderful bible teacher at the Bloomfield United Methodist Church. Since I was 14, her and her husband were my first youth ministers in the church--and I feel like she's always been a mentor for me, and I will never forget her," said Williams.
Just like the window that will eventually be repaired, Williams' heart will be whole again thanks to the memories of a wonderful woman.
"Our church family will have a great loss here, but we will have our cherished memories of remembering her, and I'm blessed for that," said Williams.
Chief Riggins expressed his sadness by saying it was a "very unfortunate day in Macon."
Fire investigators would not comment on the cause of the fire or if they suspect foul play.