Local News

Early Morning Fire Results in Holiday Tragedy for Cumberland County Family

Posted December 22, 1999

— An elderly Cumberland County woman died in an early morning fire Thursday.

Invesitgators say the fire that killed 77-year-old Julia Ann Murphy started in the electrical panel in the garage around 6 a.m.

The victim's husband, 73-year-old Alton C. Murphy, had heard a noise and had gone outside to check the noise. When he realized that there was a fire, he could not get back inside the house to save his wife.

All day long, family members spent the day searching for reminders and remembering Murphy.

"She was a lady that anyone could call their mother," said Glenwood Gilbert. "She would treat you like a mother. She was just a good person."

For the last couple of years, family members had spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas at the house.

"She always invited everyone for Christmas parties and stuff like that," said Robert Jacobs, Murphy's nephew. "And that's where everybody would come and eat. She was a nice person -- she was very good."

The family says they cannot even imagine celebrating Christmas this year. They say the first thing they have to do is to say goodbye to Murphy and console her husband.

"We always came here for Christmas and Thanksgiving," said Crystal Gilbert, Murphy's grandmother. "We always had family get togethers, but this year she won't be here."

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