Calamity Turns to Tragedy

House Fire Claims Life of Wateree Woman

WINNSBORO – A Lake Wateree woman perished last Friday night in a fire that consumed her home. Fairfield County Coroner Barkley Ramsey said Dianna M. Wood, 53, was killed in the fire at 2051 Great North Road, the cause of which may never be determined.

Ramsey said the 9-1-1 call came into dispatch at 10:55 p.m. on July 18. When first units arrived on the scene, the home was awash in flame. Dutchman Creek, Mitford, Ridgeway and Southeastern fire departments responded to the blaze, as did the rescue squad.

Wood and her husband Bradford W. Wood were sleeping when the fire broke out. Ramsey said Bradford escaped by breaking out the bathroom window and leaping from the home. The home was in the Lake Wateree flood plain and elevated on stilts, Ramsey said, making the jump equivalent to a two-story fall, and when Bradford hit the ground he crushed his hip. Bradford reportedly believed his wife to be right behind him when he jumped.

Bradford Wood was transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga. At press time, he was being transferred to another hospital for surgery to repair his broken hip and was scheduled to return to the Burn Center in the near future.

The couple’s three dogs were also killed in the fire.

The cause of the fire has been officially listed as “undetermined,” Ramsey said, with the fire burning so hot and so fast as to eradicate any clues of its origin. The cars parked underneath the structure in the garage portion of the elevated home went up in fireballs, and a gas grill in the back yard exploded, waking neighbors around the lake.