MOULTRIE — A 73-year-old woman was seriously injured and a volunteer firefighter had minor injures from a house fire on Black Acres Road early Sunday morning.

Bonnie Rigsby, 73, was taken to Colquitt Regional Medical Center for burns to her face, arms and hands and for smoke and heat inhalation as a result of the fire. A hospital spokesperson said she was transferred to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga. for treatment of her injuries. She suffered burns over 15 percent of her body.

Sam Stevens, a member of the Westside Volunteer Fire Department, said firefighters were called to 215 Black Acres Road at 5:27 a.m. Sunday. Volunteer firefighters from Westside, Southside and Funston were initially called to the blaze.

Upon their arrival, Stevens said heavy flames were seen coming out of the back of the residence. Because of how quickly the fire had spread and how hot it had become throughout the house, additional firefighters from the Hamilton and Autreyville Volunteer Fire Departments were called in to assist.

The fire was knocked down and brought under control by all of the responding volunteer firefighters, Stevens said. The Red Cross responded to the scene to provide assistance to the family, and a Colquitt County sheriff’s investigator was called in to investigate the cause of the fire.

Stevens said the home’s resident, Lynn Swallow, a special education teacher at C.A. Gray Middle School, was awakened by the fire and saw a couch on fire and fire spreading up a wall. She awoke Rigsby and both got out of the house, but Rigsby struggled with Swallow and her son, George, and re-entered the house and was burned.

Barbara Tucker, a neighbor of the Swallows, said Swallow came over to her house and knocked on her back door and told Tucker her house was on fire. Swallow also said her mother was still inside the burning house, so Tucker’s husband and son, Melvin and Mark Tucker, ran inside the house and got Rigsby out.

Melvin Tucker said Rigsby’s arms were badly burned after she was brought out of the house and taken to the Tuckers’, but her hands and face only had minor burns. Rigsby had several health problems, including being diabetic and had broken her ankle about a month ago.

Rigsby had grabbed an artificial rose she had been given for Valentine’s Day, but Barbara Tucker said it had been burned into her hand. She had struggled with Swallow to get back inside and get items, such as the rose and her glasses.

Swallow’s husband, David, was away from the house when it caught on fire, but Barbara Tucker said Lynn called him and told him about the fire. While on his way back from Pelham, however, David’s car broke down before he made it back to the house.

There was major fire and smoke damage throughout the house once the fire was put out, Stevens said. The fire was ruled accidental by an investigation, and it was believed the fire may have been started when a candle had been reignited during the night.

Melvin and Barbara Tucker said they were pleased with the response of the volunteer firefighters. The first unit on the scene came very quickly, and there were several trucks at the scene covering the house’s front yard as the volunteers fought the fire.

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