Firewood placed too close to a wood-burning stove blamed for blaze that killed woman trying to save pets

The fire was just days after her husband’s funeral.

Firewood placed too close to a wood-burning stove blamed for blaze that killed woman trying to save pets

LAWRENCE COUNTY, MS (WLBT) - Firewood placed too close to a wood-burning stove is to blame for a fire that killed a woman just days after her husband’s funeral.

72-year-old Mary Ann McMahon went back into her burning home to try and save her pets.

According to the Associated Press, firefighters on Wednesday recovered the body of McMahon from her home in Lawrence County. Her daughter, Amy Rutland, was hospitalized.

The State Fire Marshall said McMahon’s home caught fire because a stack of firewood was placed too close to a wood-burning stove.

“At this time last year, there had only been one heating-related fire death but we ended the year with 13,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney. “I cannot stress enough how important it is to properly use heaters and extension cords. Also, having working smoke alarms in your home could mean the difference between life and death.”

McMahon's husband, Patrick, died Jan. 10 and his funeral was Monday. Sheriff Lessie Butler says Rutland was staying with her mother after the funeral.

Lawrence County Fire Coordinator Lyle Berard says the two women escaped the single-story house during the fire early Wednesday, but McMahon went back in to try to save her pets.

Butler says the burned bodies of McMahon’s two dogs were found in the home.

The State Fire Marshal Office wants to remind everyone to heat their homes safely as temperatures are expected to dip below freezing Sunday night.

As you prepare for cold weather, the State Fire Marshal Office offers these heating safety tips.

Improper heating has already caused four fire deaths in 2019.

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