Tifton Gazette


January 23, 2014

Nashville fire claims 3 lives

NASHVILLE — A house fire early Wednesday morning has left three people dead; three others escaped.
Chuck Edwards, police chief at the Nashville Police Department, announced in a press release Wednesday afternoon that at approximately 3:26 a.m. that morning, NPD officers were dispatched to a structure fire at 634 Sheppard Ave. in Nashville (Berrien County).
Within three minutes, Nashville officers and firefighters arrived at the scene and observed the home completely engulfed in flames. Strong winds had also caused the fire to jump to the home next door at 632 Sheppard Ave. Nashville firefighters, assisted by the West Berrien Fire Department, battled the blaze for approximately two hours.
The release states that while the damage at 632 Sheppard Ave. was limited to an exterior wall with minimal damage to the interior and no injuries to the occupants, the home at 634 Sheppard Ave. was a total loss and there were six people inside at the time the fire broke out.
Of the six, three managed to escape the dwelling and survived with no or minimal injury reported; three died in the fire. The survivors are 42-year-old Kathy Garcia, 32-year-old Shay Catlit and 20-year-old Jay Hawkins Jr. The deceased were identified as 39-year-old Artoro Garcia, 18-year-old Toby Keith Hawkins and 17-year-old Christopher Rowan.
Edwards says preliminary investigation by the NPD and the Berrien County coroner indicated no evidence of foul play. The Georgia State Fire Marshal’s Office was brought in to assist in the continuing investigation to determine the exact cause of the fire.

To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.

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  • public safety awards.tif

    Pictured are the honorees of Thursday night's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet by the Tifton Elks Lodge. Shown, from left, are Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, Eddie Brown with the Tift County Emergency Medical Services, Sgt. Debbie Pyles with the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department, Sgt. Bart Walker with the Omega Police Department, Officer of the Year honoree Thomas Catanzarita with the Tift County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Deputy Jonathan Toledo with the TCSO, Brandi Conway with the Tifton-Tift County Animal Shelter, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Taylor, Officer Brian Shockley with the Tifton Police Department and volunteer Firefighter Brian Fincher with the Chula Fire Department.

    LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

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