Husband of woman who died in Lexington fire blames cigarette-lighting technique

kward1@herald-leader.comJuly 17, 2012 

The husband of a woman who died after being seriously burned last week said he thinks the fire started because of the way she lit her cigarettes.

Barbara Sue Robinson, 71, of Orlando in Rockcastle County had been sitting in a pickup truck parked outside a home under construction in the 3100 block of Blackford Parkway in Lexington on Thursday morning when her clothes apparently caught fire from a cigarette.

Her husband, Elzie Carl Robinson, said Tuesday night that he was working inside the house when the fire occurred.

He said his wife had a stroke and brain surgery in the past, and she went to work with him every day.

"The thing that she liked was being with me," he said. "She went with me everywhere I went."

He said she stayed in the truck while he worked half days for Ball Homes, and she loved to smoke.

But Elzie Robinson said his wife sometimes lit her cigarettes in the middle, which could cause one end to burn off and fall onto her clothing.

He said he thinks that's how the fire started Thursday. He said a co-worker was able to extinguish the flames with a bucket of water.

Barbara Sue Robinson was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital and was then transferred to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, where she died Sunday.

Police and fire officials said last week that they were investigating but were treating the case as an accident.

Elzie and Barbara Sue Robinson were married for 17 years, and they enjoyed singing gospel music together, Elzie Robinson recalled. He said that even before her health problems his wife enjoyed going with him wherever he went, whether it was squirrel hunting, digging ginseng or fishing.

Services for Barbara Sue Robinson will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Maple Grove Baptist Church in Mount Vernon. Visitation begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the church. Dowell & Martin Funeral Home in Mount Vernon is in charge of arrangements.

Karla Ward: (859) 231-3314. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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