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Fatal Duncan House Fire Victim Identified

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DUNCAN, Okla._ We now know the identity of a woman from Duncan who died in a house fire. Authorities have identified her as 55-year-old Debbi Timms. 

It's unclear where Timms was when the fire first broke out, but crews did find her just a few feet from the front door. She was taken to Duncan Regional Hospital in critical condition and then flown to a burn center in Oklahoma City where she died.

Neighbors said they heard a loud banging noise just before midnight. That noise was a teenage boy already trying to break a window to get her out. They went to help him, but on one side of the house, the smoke and heat were too dangerous for them. On the other, Timms had furniture blocking the windows.

When Danny Moon described his neighbor in one word, he said "sweet". He said Debbi Timms wasn't just a neighbor to him; she was a friend.

"A lot of times, if she had a problem in the house or in the yard, I'd help her," Moon said. "I cut her grass and took care of the back yard and stuff."

Timms loved life. You could see that just by taking a look at the back of her car. She loved animals, too. She had a dog, cat, and guinea pig. Unfortunately, they died in the fire as well.

Fire investigators say they think an ember fell out of Timms' wood-burning stove, catching the carpet on fire.

The house didn't suffer a lot of fire damage, and that's because fire crews did a really great job keeping the fire contained to this area of the house. The fire still created a lot of smoke, though. That smoke did the most damage.

"She's got a couple of recliners in there," Duncan Fire Investigator Detective William Fitzhugh said. "The padding and everything in there converts to real thick heavy smoke."

Detective Fitzhugh said that smoke was full of toxic fumes that took over the whole house. Investigators are waiting on confirmation from the medical examiner, but they believe those toxic fumes took Timms' life. Because of that, it's hard for Danny Moon to even look across the street.

"I see her car. It's just a bad feeling," Moon said.

That bad feeling comes from the fact that he will always wish he could've done something more.

"We were good friends," Moon said. "It's just hard, when you know somebody like that, and have that happen and try to do something and just couldn't get in the house. It was just too hot and too much smoke."

While moon wishes he could've saved Timms' life, Detective Fitzhugh said if there isn't a window already open, it's best to keep everything intact until firefighters arrive. He said bystanders aren't trained to know what's behind windows and doors, and that opening them could create a backdraft that could injure or even kill the person trying to help.

Timms did have working smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector in her home. Firefighters say they were going off, and while it didn't save her life, it's still the best precautionary action people can have.

 

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