Woman dies in Marion County fire; man burned in blaze being treated at Vanderbilt

An early morning fire Monday on Martin Gaines Road in Marion County, Tennessee, claimed the life of a woman and left a man with injuries from the blaze requiring treatment at the burn unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Marion County Sheriff's Office Detective Gene Hargis said Tuesday in a phone interview that investigators have not yet determined a cause or origin of the fire, or confirmed the identities of the woman killed or the man injured.

The fire was reported by a neighbor at 1:46 a.m. Monday, according to Detective Beth Raulston, the lead investigator on the case. Authorities believe they know the identity of the deceased woman, but they haven't been able to confirm it yet, Raulston said.

(READ MORE: Marion County community mourns loss of firefighter father, 9-month-old daughter)

"There were human remains found and sent for an autopsy to make a positive identification on her," Raulston said Tuesday in a phone interview. "The male subject was transported to Chattanooga and then from there to Vanderbilt with severe burns."

The man spoke to those who got to the scene first, she said.

"The man was able to give a brief statement to the first responders but he was in a lot of pain," Raulston said. "We're working on learning more details from the survivor."

(READ MORE: Human remains recovered from Hales Bar Marina fire scene)

Raulston said the fire could be seen by motorists on Interstate 24 as the Battle Creek community's Martin Gaines Road is within a few feet of I-24 in some spots. Battle Creek is near South Pittsburg on the southwest end of Marion County.

"It was a small home actually on stilts," Raulston said.

A wood heater was operating in the partially enclosed space beneath the house, she said.

Fire investigators with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are assisting on the probe, Raulston said.

"No foul play is suspected at this time, but it is an ongoing investigation," she said.

There were no other people in the home, and no pets were known to be present, she said.

Raulston said it could take a while for the remains to be positively identified and might even required a DNA comparison to know for sure.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.