Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

June 7, 2014

Mother, son perish in fire

THOMASVILLE — A 94-year-old woman and her son died in a Pavo fire discovered by a neighbor early Friday morning.

Chris Cooper, who lives next door to the 4070 N. Main St. residence, was sleeping when his wife awoke him and told him the next-door Rogers residence was on fire.

Cooper entered the burning house and found Loette Rogers in a wheelchair near the front door. Cooper removed the woman from the burning house and took her away from the heat.

The woman was dead, and a Thomas County Sheriff’s Office deputy learned the woman’s son, Wynton Ladd Rogers, 69, was also in the house. His body was found later Friday in a bedroom.

Pavo Mayor Faye Walker, a longtime neighbor of the Rogers, had known Mrs. Rogers all of her life.

“She was an iron feather,” Walker said. “She was just as gentle as she needed to be and as firm as she needed to be.”

Walker described Rogers as “a woman of composure,” who was determined when she set her mind to something.

“She was an important part of the community all her life,” Walker said.

Her son also was a lifelong part of the community, the mayor added.

Shanell Roberts, Mrs. Rogers’ great-niece, recalled that her aunt worked in the old Pavo school cafeteria.

“She was always the sweetest lady,” Roberts said. “She was soft-spoken, always smiling, one of those kinds of ladies.”

The 1:40 a.m. blaze is believed to be accidental, possibly beginning in the kitchen area of the one-story, brick-veneer structure, said sheriff’s office investigator Tracy Long.

Lt. Tim Watkins, sheriff’s office chief investigator, said the rubble was too hot Friday to make a determination of the origin or cause of the blaze.

A state fire marshal processed the scene Friday.

On Monday, the marshal will focus on the origin and/or cause of the blaze, said Chris Jones, Thomas County fire/rescue chief.

Three firefighters were injured fighting the blaze and transported to Archbold Memorial Hospital.

Jones said one firefighter suffered a knee injury in a fall, another a hip injury in a fall, and another was injured by falling debris. Protective gear worn by the firefighters prevented serious injuries, the chief explained.

The firefighters were checked at the hospital and dismissed. Jones said the firefighters went home at 8 a.m. Friday, the end of their shift.

Firefighters were at the scene for more than seven hours Friday.

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