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House fire kills 1 in Scotland Co.

Posted June 12, 2008

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— A woman died after her home along Andrew Jackson Highway caught fire while she and her husband were sleeping on Wednesday night, authorities said.

Sallie Rachels, 42 and her husband, James, were in their bedroom when the fire broke out at their single-story home at 16540 Andrew Jackson Highway around 11:30 p.m., according to investigators.

James Rachels made it out of the house before firefighters arrived, but Sallie Rachels perished in the fire, said Chief Deputy Steve Smith, with the Scotland County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators believe that Sallie Rachels died from smoke inhalation. Her body was found in the bedroom.

James Rachels suffered some burns and was treated at and released from Scotland Memorial Hospital.

Smith said the cause of the fire has not been determined, but the couple had lit candles after a hail storm knocked out power earlier in the evening.

Either heat or smoke woke up the couple, Smith said.

The State Bureau of Investigation was assisting in the probe.

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