Carroll County woman dies in trailer fire

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By Kristin Beck

A Carroll County woman, originally from Texas, died in a trailer fire early Monday morning after going back inside to retrieve items for her baby.

Wendy Mercer, 37, died inside her home on Gilgal Road. An autopsy will be performed Tuesday morning by the state Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville, Carroll County Coroner David Wilhoite said.

Westside Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched at 5:16 a.m. on a house fire with one occupant unaccounted for, Westside Fire Chief Clyde Rowlett said. When firefighters arrived, they found two trailers side-by-side within inches of one another, both fully involved, he said. Firefighters attacked the areas of the trailer where they thought Mercer was located, Rowlett said. 

All family members inside the home were out, but Mercer went back inside to retrieve baby bottles and diapers for her 4-month-old infant, Rowlett said.

"The state fire marshall's office pretty well determined a space heater started the fire," Rowlett said, which was located in a back bedroom. Deputy State Fire Marshall Russ Allen is investigating the case, Rowlett said.

Ghent Fire Protection District also responded mutual aid to bring water to the fire. 

Rowlett said the fire was under control by 6:30 a.m., and the fire departments cleared the scene at 10:30 a.m. 

Rowlett urged those using space heaters in their homes to use extreme caution and to make sure they are safe and up to code.

He also wanted to remind everyone to get out when a structure is on fire. "Anytime you have something on fire, don't go back in," he said.

Additional information will be in the Thursday edition of The News-Democrat.