Elderly Woman Killed in House Fire

Cate Road, Anderson County (WVLT) - Investigators believe a cigarette sparked an early morning fire in Anderson County.

One woman died and three others were sent to the hospital with smoke inhalation.

70-year-old Ruby Parris died in the fire.

She was living with her sister, 69-year-old Ina Heath, who was treated and released from Parkwest. Her husband 82-year-old Elmer Heath is there in stable condition.

Another sister living in the home, 74-year-old Marjorie Monday was treated and released.

Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud talked to relatives about the horrible loss of a family member.

"40 or 50 years ago they started building this house," says Steve Heath, son of the homeowners.

From one angle, Steve Heath's parents home looks perfectly in tact, but if you look around the corner, you can see that it's a total loss.

"It's a very sad incident, very sad," Karen Monday, victim's niece.

Not much besides shattered glass and burnt memories remain after fire broke out in the back of the house around 4:00 a.m. Tuesday.

Heath says his father is a hero, making sure everyone got out, including Ruby Parris' dog.

But it was simply too late to save her.

"We're all upset, very upset about it. This is a very loving family and we are very close. We take care of each other," Karen says.

Parris moved into her sisters' home about a month ago for that very reason.

She wanted to be close to her sisters when she became ill.

"She always tried to make everybody else feel good, no matter how she felt, she always cared about the other person," says Karen.

If losing a loved one wasn't enough, the family's loss goes even deeper.

They say they've lost the house that most in their family called "home".

"This is the family home at Christmas time, where we get together for holidays," Karen says.

While the house itself will never be the same, the family says the closeness Parris left this world knowing, will give them strength to start over again.

"Knowing my dad, he'll knock it down and build it back," Steve says.

"We know she is in a better place and that is what we believe. We will miss her," Karen adds.

Fire marshals were on the scene all morning.

The family believes they will be able to salvage some things, including photo albums, which meant the most to them.