GULFPORT -- A faulty electrical outlet likely caused an early-morning house fire in Gulfport that killed one person, fire officials said.
Harrison County coroner Gary Hargrove said an 82-year-old woman died in the fire in the 2100 block of 41st Avenue.
Hargrove said the fire was reported about 1 a.m. The house was fully engulfed when Gulfport fire crews responded to the call. It took about 20 minutes to get the flames extinguished, he said.
"Once they went in after putting out the fire, they found her body," he said. "She was alone in the house at the time of the fire."
"Our investigation deemed it was caused by an electrical outlet that had several things plugged into it, including a space heater," Gulfport Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Lundy said. "There was a lot of damage to the heater and its cord."
Lundy said the fire started in the living room.
Renia Pharr, a neighbor in the West Gulfport neighborhood that's between the beach and the Seabee Base, woke after midnight to the commotion, she said. When she saw it was a house fire and which house it was, she called relatives of the woman who lived there, she said.
The house was destroyed and the yard charred as well. A car in the yard, however, was not burned.
Pharr said she's been friends with the woman who lived at the house for about 15 years. They enjoyed gardening together, she said.
"I can't believe she's gone."
Hargrove said the body will be sent to Jackson for an autopsy. He said he is not releasing the woman's name until a DNA test has been conducted.
The Sun Herald will have more on this story at it develops.