A structure fire claimed the life of a 56-year-old woman early Wednesday morning and now a community is joining hands to help the family.
Wichita Falls Fire Department spent 40 minutes taming the fire shortly after 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Community members are rallying around the family of the woman who passed away.
“Really kind-hearted people loved to laugh and cut up, loved to work around here and help out any way they could,” family friend Britta Kent said. “They went to all four of these bars so we are going to throw a benefit for them, we don’t have a set date but it will be in the near future.”
Fire investigators said they believe a person who lives in the home was starting a fire in a free standing wood burning stove when a recliner next to the stove caught fire.
Red Cross is assisting the family financially but also provide material to help the family on their road to recovery.
“The fact that there was a fatality involved in it, and we tend to spend a little more time with them because of that because they needed people to talk to,” Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Linda Stevenson said.
Red Cross’ mission is to alleviate suffering in the face of disaster.
“We try to get people on the road to recovery so that we don’t see them here and the homeless shelter doesn’t see them,” Stevenson said.
Local fire department officials said they want to continue to stress the importance of remaining vigilant especially with open flames in your home, step one, ensure you have working smoke detectors.
“Making even upgrade and go to a smoke detector combination CO2, so you’re also careful on the carbon monoxide and just re-enforce do you have an evacuation plan,” Bowman Volunteer Fire Chief John Strenski said.
Kent is hoping the community will do what they can to assist this family.
While close family friends identified the woman who passed, Fire Marshal Jody Ashlock said he will not be releasing names just yet until he is sure all next of kin have been notified.