FROM STAFF REPORTS
BURNET — A 74-year-old woman died April 4 after her home became engulfed in flames.
Fanny Higgins was living in a residence in the 200 block of Valley Drive, located west of Burnet off Texas 29, along with two other individuals when a fire erupted after 8 a.m.
Burnet Fire Marshal John Erskine said Higgins and her 25-year-old granddaughter, Heather Krantz, were in the home at the time of the fire.
“(Frantz) apparently woke up and discovered the fire,” Erskine said. “But there already was smoke from the floor to the ceiling. The granddaughter saw some flames off to her right and began calling for her grandmother.”
The two were able to talk, the fire marshal said, and the granddaughter urged Higgins to get out of the fire.
“In that situation, distances can be very hard to determine,” Erskine said. “It became super hot for the younger woman, who got up to get some air from a window, but she had to get out.”
Krantz slightly injured herself jumping from a window that was approximately 7 feet off the ground, said Carolyn Smith Haley, the elderly woman’s daughter-in-law.
The granddaughter went back around the house, a 1,725-foot manufactured home with an addition, but couldn’t get back in or make contact with Higgins.
The dispatch call went out at 8:27 a.m. with Burnet Fire Department and fire crews arriving at 8:33 a.m.
“When we arrived, it was 80 percent engulfed,” Erskine said.
The fire had created an opening in the center of the structure by the time crew arrived. The elderly woman’s oxygen tanks were apparently located in the center of the residence, adding oxygen to the fire and causing it to burn at a faster rate, the fire marshal said.
The firefighters began attacking the blaze where they believed the woman was trapped. Family members advised firefighters that there were some weak spots in the structure prior to the fire. Erskine said that once fire crews were able to get the blaze beaten back, they then entered the home, where they found the victim in her bedroom.
There was nothing suspicious regarding the cause of the blaze, but Erskine said it’s been turned over to the state fire marshal’s office for investigation.
Erskine said the residence didn’t have any working smoke detectors.
“Smoke detectors would have provided earlier warning,” he said.
Erskine added that he recommends at least placing smoke detectors in bedrooms and then changing the batteries twice a year. Anyone who has questions or assistance regarding smoke detectors can call the Burnet Fire Department at (512) 756-2662 or their local fire department for more information.
Haley and family members have set up a GoFundMe.com account to help the younger woman and with Higgins’ funeral expenses. The fire destroyed the residence, and the granddaughter lost everything. Go directly to gofundme.com/npxfvxzw or visit gofundme.com and search of “Fanny Higgins” or “Carolyn Smith Haley.”
There is also a link on Haley’s Facebook page at facebook.com/carolyn.s.haley as well.
The Burnet Volunteer Fire Department, the Cassie Volunteer Fire Department, the Burnet EMS and Burnet the County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the fire. Crews remained on the scene until after noon.