Victim identified in deadly house fire

·1 min read

Dec. 24—Officials have identified the victim of a deadly house fire that occurred Tuesday night on the city's southeast side.

According to a press release from the Howard County Coroner's Office, an autopsy conducted Thursday identified the victim as homeowner and resident Judith Lynne Gaskin-Payne, 60.

The preliminary findings indicate the cause of death was due to thermal and inhalation injuries as a result of the fire, the release said.

Officials with the Kokomo Fire Department were originally dispatched to the residence, located in the 4100 block of South 50 East, around 9 p.m. Tuesday after some type of burglar alarm went off, according to KFD Chief Chris Frazier. Police officers alerted KFD upon arrival that it was actually a working fire.

The single-story residence was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived, Frazier previously told the Tribune, and he said officials attempted to gain access into the residence but were unable to do a thorough search of the structure due to a roof collapse.

Frazier added that wind and other conditions, such as the distance from the house to the road and the lack of fire hydrants in the area, also played a factor in extinguishing the fire at first, and several volunteer departments in the area with tanker trucks were called in for assistance.

The Howard County Coroner's Office was called to the scene around 2 p.m. Wednesday after the body was discovered during a search of the property.

The case remains under investigation by the Kokomo Fire Department and Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office.

Anyone with information about the incident may contact the Kokomo Fire Department at 765-457-2636 or the Howard County Coroner's Office at 765-456-1186.

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