MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Smoke spilled from a mobile home on Andrews Road while fire investigators tried to figure out what caused it.The fire claimed the life of 58-year-old Elaine Ritchie.
"There are a number of things that we have to do in a fatality. So it is probably going to be an all-day affair as far as investigation is concerned," said Steve Huffman with Mobile Fire-Rescue.
Huffman said a man noticed smoke shortly after 8 a.m. and called a friend, who is a firefighter.
While firefighters continued to work, Elaine Ritchie's family wept, including her husband of 36 years, David.
Huffman said Ritchie was found near her bed and was home alone when the fire started.
Friends of the family told FOX10 News the grandmother of eight did have health problems.
Mobile Fire-Rescue officials said she was on oxygen.
"We will look to see whether the oxygen played a role in the fire," Huffman said.
Despite her health concerns, Ritchie's family said she lived for grandchildren.
"She was hanging in there for her grandchildren," said Bobbie Jo Kelley. "She and David were devoted to them."
Kelley said two of the grandchildren lived with the couple. They were at school at the time of the fire.
"They do not know what has happened," said Kelley. "We now have to break the news to them."
David Ritchie works for the city of Mobile's building department. His friends said he'll need a lot of help to cope with this loss.
"We are asking for anything, any kind of donation to help him. Furniture, clothes, money," said Kelley.
Firefighters said the home is a total loss.
If you would like to help the Ritchie family out, call Bobbie Jo Kelley at 251-208-7632. Kelley is helping the Ritchie to try to recover.
She said donations can be dropped off at Travis Road Baptist Church in Mobile. The address is 5226 Travis Road. Donations are also being collected at the Cypress Shores Fire station.
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