Officials: No smoke detectors in deadly Moss Point house fire


There were no smoke detectors in the Moss Point home that caught fire and killed two women early Friday morning. That information comes from Moss Point's interim Fire Chief Tommy Posey.

Guawaina Cooley, 60, and her relative, 49-year-old Penny Sue Doyle of Alabama, died in the blaze on Palmetto Drive.

Jackson County Coroner Vicki Broadus confirmed Saturday that Cooley died from complications from the burns she suffered, and Doyle died of smoke inhalation.

WLOX News spoke with two police officers who said they were the first to arrive on scene Friday morning and tried their best to get the women out of the burning home.

Pictures of the flames, falling debris and smoke from the huge house fire on Palmetto Drive show just how destructive this fire was. Police officers Charles Ward and Timothy Regan were the first to arrive on scene.

"The back was on fire and smoke was barreling out of the front. Officer Regan said he heard what appeared to be a dog or possibly person inside the house," Ward said.

Ward was able to get inside from the rear of the home and said he saw a woman lying on the floor.

"I tried to grab her, but the fire flamed up and it was too hot for me to grab her," Ward said.

Regan said he was on the front porch of the burning house trying to kick open the door.

"I was able to kick in and peak inside and saw a woman on the bed unconscious, but you couldn't see the extent of her wounds. It took me multiple kicks to get the door open," Regan said. "Me and officer Ward tried to go inside to wake her up, but we weren't able to. We tried to pull her out, but the smoke and the fire was just too much. We had to retreat and comeback several times."

Within minutes, the fire department and other first responders showed up to help the officers carry these two women out of the flame engulfed home. Despite their best efforts, the women died.

"Unfortunately there was loss of life in this incident, but they did respond and they responded accordingly to training," Police Chief Keith Davis said.

Regan was treated for smoke inhalation at the local hospital. Davis commends his team and the other first responders for their efforts.

"A lot of times they have to springs into action without regard to their own safety," Davis said.

Authorities said the fire is still under investigation.

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