By BRIAN HAWKINS
An early-morning mobile home fire claimed the life of an Oktibbeha County woman on Thursday.
The fire at 2040 Maben-Sturgis Road engulfed the bedroom area of the mobile home, killing 51-year-old Donna L. Barmore, who was believed to have been asleep inside. Barmore was badly burned, volunteer firefighters said.
County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said a passerby driving on Maben-Sturgis Road at 6:39 a.m. Thursday saw smoke coming from the mobile home and called firefighters.
Maben volunteer firefighters responded to the home and found the end where the bedroom was located engulfed in flame, Rosenhan said. Mathiston volunteer firefighters quickly arrived to back up those from Maben and the fire was extinguished within 15 minutes, Rosenhan said.
Barmore’s body was found by firefighters shortly after flames were extinguished, Rosenhan said. Flames had burned through the floor in the bedroom where she was found, he said.
The rest of the mobile home remained largely intact, but did sustain smoke and heat damage.
Coroner Michael Hunt, Oktibbeha County sheriff’s deputies and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of the fatal blaze, said Rosenhan, who had no further information about what ignite flames.
Barmore was known in the community for her work with the American Red Cross in disaster response and emergency preparedness training.
Barmore recently had been working with the newly formed Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services (OSERVS), conducting multiple emergency training programs for local school children and day care programs.
Barmore had recently been certified as an American Heart Association CPR instructor to teach courses through OSERVS.
Both OSERVS and Red Cross leaders expressed grief at Barmore’s death
“We all consider this an extremely personal loss. She has worked with us since we conceived developing this new county emergency response group. You would never meet anybody with a bigger heart for serving others than Donna,” said OSERVS board chair Carol Moss Read. “Every member of our board his stunned by this. We all feel like we’ve lost a member of our family.”
Patty Tucker, executive director of the Northeast Mississippi Red Cross chapter, expressed similar sentiments.
“We are heartbroken over the loss of Donna Barmore. She was a long-time valued volunteer and such a shining light in the Oktibbeha County community,” Tucker said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her dear family during this difficult time. Donna had a heart of gold and was a true humanitarian. We thank her family for sharing her with us.”
Barmore’s body has been sent to Jackson for an autopsy as ordered by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Funeral arrangements for Barmore are being handled by Oliver Funeral Home in Eupora and will be announced as soon as details become available.
Members of Double Springs Baptist Church, where Barmore was a member, are working to assist her family.
Barmore is survived by a son, Neil, and a daughter, Kim, and her grandchildren.