Fatal fire might have been consequence of bad weather

The death of an elderly couple Saturday in western Pulaski County might have been related to last week’s bad weather, according to authorities.

The electricity had gone out to the home of Everett Hughes, 79, and his wife Peggy, 78, and they were trying to use a kerosene heater to try to keep warm, said J.E. Chaney, chief of the Nancy Volunteer Fire Department.

Officials have not completed their investigation, but it appears that the heater might have been the cause, Chaney said.

Everett Hughes had called a relative shortly before the fire and said the heater didn’t seem to be working properly, Chaney said.

It’s possible that the fire started as Hughes tried to fill the heater with fuel or work on it, authorities said.

A neighbor called a relative of the couple Saturday afternoon to report smoke coming from the couple’s house.

The relative went to the house on an all-terrain vehicle and found it engulfed in flames about 3 p.m. Saturday, Chaney said.

Firefighters had a difficult time getting to the house because the road hadn’t been cleared after more than a foot of snow that fell Friday, Chaney said.

The house had collapsed before the first firefighter could reach it.

However, the response time probably wouldn’t have mattered because the fire was so far advanced before it was reported, Chaney said.

“It’s a tragic accident,” he said.