Elderly Early County man dies in fire

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Jan. 27—ATLANTA — Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King announced Thursday that L.A. Stapleton, 70, was killed in an Early County fire on Jan. 20.

The fire occurred on Butler Avenue in Blakely and caused moderate damage to the 82-year-old, 1,320-square-foot residence.

"The fire appeared to have originated in the living room of the residence," King said in a news release. "Fire department personnel located the deceased subject inside the structure while extinguishing the fire. His body was subsequently transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's crime lab for autopsy."

The state's Fire Investigations Unit is assisting the Blakely Fire Department, Blakely Police Departments, and Early County Coroner's Office in an investigation of the blaze. This marks the eighth death from a Georgia fire in 2022.

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