Siskiyou County House Fire Kills Woman, Husband Escapes

On 8/6/2011 at approximately 5:00 p.m. Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a structure fire on Highway 96 in the Seiad Valley area.Upon arrival, deputies encountered a fully-engulfed structure fire.

Firefighters from the Klamath National Forest, Fort Jones Fire Department, Montague Fire Department, Seiad Volunteer Fire Department and Cal-Fire were on scene and were working to extinguish the fire.

Deputies spoke to the home owner, Mr. Joseph Stuart, 59 of Seiad Valley, who stated that he and his wife were in their living room when their front porch started to erupt into flames. They attempted to call 9-1-1 but their phone was not working and the home quickly was engulfed with flame and smoke.

Mr. Stuart was able to escape through a window. Tragically, Ms. Jan Stuart, 59, of Seiad Valley, was unable to escape before being overcome by flame and smoke from the raging fire. A neighbor that witnessed the fire was able to call 9-1-1 using her cell phone. Sheriff Jon Lopey stated “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Jan Stuart and I wanted to take this opportunity to extend our sincere condolences to the Stuart family in the wake of this terrible tragedy.”

According to a departmental spokesperson Allison Giannini, “If anyone has any further information regarding this incident they are urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office. The Siskiyou County Arson Task Force is investigating the cause of the fire and the events leading to it. Although there is no reason to suspect arson, it is a routine procedure to conduct a full investigation to ensure causation factors are consistent with physical evidence and circumstances apparent to investigators.”

Information or inquiries should be directed to Detective Chris Rees at (530) 841-2900. You can also contact Investigator Dave Young and the Arson Task Force at (530) 842-8323.

-from press release

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