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Man, 71, dies after he fell off his chair into a campfire in a ‘freak accident’ in Georgia


Man, 71, dies after he fell off his chair into a campfire in a ‘freak accident’ in Georgia

  • Robert Ratliff Jr, 71, was killed in a campfire in Franklin, Georgia, on Saturday
  • He is believed to have stumbled into the fire while getting out of a camping chair
  • Fire Commissioner John F King described Mr Ratliff’s death as a ‘freak accident’ 

By Joe Davies For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

An elderly man died after he fell off his chair into a campfire in a freak accident in Georgia

Robert Ratliff Jr, 71, was killed in the fire on Saturday, November 14, the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F King announced. 

The fire occurred on the 12000 block of Highway 100 in Franklin, Heard County.

Mr Ratliff’s death was reported by the property owner after he returned to his hunting camp around 7pm. 

Robert Ratliff Jr, 71, was killed after he fell off his chair into a campfire in Franklin, Heard County, Georgia, on Saturday

He said Mr Ratliff had been staying at his property for around two weeks before he found the 71-year-old’s body near a tree and the woods on fire.

When a Heard County police deputy arrived, he used a fire extinguisher on the fire and found Mr Ratliff’s phone and wallet in the pit. 

‘Our investigators believe Mr Ratliff was getting out of his camping chair when he stumbled into the fire,’ said Commissioner King. 

‘This freak accident gives us heavy hearts as we pray for the loved ones impacted and we continue to investigate this case.’ 

The State Fire Investigations Unit is collaborating with the Heard County Sheriff’s Office, Heard County Fire Department, Heard County Coroner’s Office and Forestry Unit on the case.

Mr Ratliff’s death marks the 75th fire fatality in Georgia this year.

Last month, a train derailment in metro Atlanta sparked a fire, created runoff concerns and forced residents from their homes. 

The fire involved ‘hazardous materials,’ spokesperson Justin Wilson said. 

Hazmat technicians performed atmospheric monitoring in the area and began initiating spill control measures with difficulty due to the swollen creek. 

With the fire involving hazardous materials, a decision was made to begin evacuation of the area closest to the fire. Evacuations had begun around 2am.


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