Fire kills Poarch woman

Published 6:06 pm Monday, April 19, 2004

By By Arthur McLean Editor
A house fire took the life of a Poarch woman early Friday morning. Ora Mattson, a member of the tribe died when her section of a duplex in the senior housing section of the Poarch community caught fire. She was 78 years old and blind.
Emergency workers were called to the scene about 6 a.m. but Mattson's portion of the duplex was already fully involved in flame.
The fire destroyed Mattson's section and severely damaged the neighboring section. Mattson's neighbor was away visiting family when the fire started.
Just before 6 a.m. Joyce Kuhn left her home to walk and she noticed flames coming out of Mattson's kitchen window.
Kuhn raced back inside, called the Poarch Fire Department and ran down the street to try to help Mattson.
About the same time, Helen Hallman heard something that made her look out her window and she also noticed the fire and called the fire department.
"By the time I got there, the fire was already coming out the kitchen window," Kuhn said.
She tried entering the house through both the front and back doors several times, but the flames pushes her back. She suffered minor burns to one hand in the attempt to save Mattson.
"It's a courageous thing she did," Hallman said. "It just shouldn't have happened to her (Mattson)."
Mattson had just returned from a group senior fishing trip to Lake Eufala the night before the fire. The said she enjoyed her trip and was getting ready for a new day Friday morning.
A state fire marshal was called to the scene Friday morning. At the scene, fire investigators seemed to center their efforts on the kitchen area and an outside light attached to the house. Several residents of the area said they've had trouble with the lighted street numbers on the duplexes.
An official report from the Alabama Department of Insurance was not released at press time.

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