Authorities haven’t yet found any answers regarding a fatal house fire that occurred over the weekend in Mount Airy.
“The cause is still under investigation,” Doug Jones, Surry County Fire Marshal, said Monday.
On Sunday at about 1:30 a.m., the Bannertown Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire call at a single-wide trailer at 143 Blackberry Lane, said Jason Burkholder, assistant fire chief.
“When we first arrived on scene there was heavy fire on one end and smoke throughout,” he said.
The victim, Tammy Denise Harrell Johnson, 47, was found in the living room/kitchen area of the home, Jones said.
After Johnson was removed, her care was transferred to Surry County Emergency Medical Services.
She was pronounced dead at the scene, said John Shelton, EMS director.
The specific cause of death will be determined by an autopsy performed this week at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Shelton said.
“Ninety-five percent of fire deaths are caused by carbon monoxide poisoning,” he noted.
In addition to the county fire marshal, the circumstances of the fire is under investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Surry County Sheriff’s Office.
An investigation by the SBI and other agencies is routine in a fire death, Shelton said.
Along with the Bannertown fire department and county EMS, the Mount Airy Rescue Squad and the Westfield and Pilot Knob volunteer fire departments assisted with the response.
Burkholder estimated that the fire was under control within about 15 minutes, thanks to the large number of firefighters who responded.
The Bannertown Volunteer Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary and the American Red Cross also provided support, Burkholder said.
No other people or pets were located inside, and no injuries of any emergency personnel were reported.
Burkholder couldn’t easily recall a fire death having occurred in the department’s coverage area.
“If so it’s been a long time,” he said. “Anytime you’ve got a fatality it’s very severe. There’s a lot of emotion.”
The southern end of the trailer, where Jones said the bedroom was located, was burned through to the rafters.
The structure was a total loss, Burkholder said.
The assistant chief said experts had been made available to his staff through the county to provide counseling and support.
On Monday, Johnson’s son, Joshua Johnson, and his fiancée, Heather Nichols, of Mount Airy, went to the home to search for any salvageable memories, such as photographs.
“We honestly didn’t know it was this bad,” Nichols said.
On behalf of the family, Nichols thanked the firefighters and emergency services for their efforts.
An earlier edition of this article misspelled the victim’s name.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.