According to the report released Tuesday, Michael Todd, 52, and Henry Towe, 72, died from “exposure to fire products” and “thermal,” which Fire Chief Tracy Smith said are the technical terms used for stating that the victims succumbed to smoke inhalation and burns suffered during the fire.
Todd and Towe were reportedly the only resident patients living in the home, which was licensed by the state to care for residents who were physically or mentally incapacitated.
A caretaker who was in the home at the time of the fire escaped relatively unharmed.
The cause of the fire is stated as “undetermined” and the investigation into its cause remains open. To complete the report, investigators sifted through the remains of the fire, studying the burn rate, initiation points, traveling path and other aspects related to the fire.
“It’s still an open case,” Smith said. “The report must be done for insurance purposes to determine the cause of injuries or death, but the investigation is still ongoing. The fire department, the (Villa Rica) police department and the Fire Marshal Office will continue to investigate as long as it’s an open case.”
It was determined that the fire began at 739 Parker St., a personal care home in Villa Rica, and spread to the adjacent home on Thomas Dorsey Drive, where the occupants were out of town at the time. Fire units were alerted to the fire at 6:21 p.m. on June 26 and both home were fully engulfed in flames upon their arrival.
“The first arriving units reported to residence ... 739 Parker Street was fully involved and (it was) also reported that a vehicle in the driveway was on fire and a second residence was on fire at 419 Thomas Dorsey Drive,” the report states. “The fire is still under investigation and (the cause) is undetermined.”
Smith said that Todd and Towe were already deceased when firefighters arrived on the scene.
Response to the three-alarm fire included personnel from several fire stations in Carroll County, the Douglas County Fire Department, the Villa Rica Police Department and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.