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Midway fire victim identified

POSTED: April 26, 2010 9:24 a.m.
Photo by Lewis Levine/

A volunteer firefighter walks in front of the house that burned.

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An elderly Liberty County man was found dead in his home Friday on the 700 block of Isle of Wight Road after firefighters extinguished a structure fire that broke out just before 2 p.m., according to county fire coordinator James Ashdown.
“When units from the Midway and Eastern District and Riceboro arrived, they encountered flames and heavy smoke coming from the home,” Ashdown said.
The body of Sam Roberts, 88, who was identified by his daughter, Odessa Rice, was found in the bedroom of the home. The fire coordinator said it appeared the fire started at the base of Roberts’ bed, where he was found lying after the fire was out.
The victim sustained burns on his body, according to Ashdown, but he would not speculate if the fire was the cause of death. He said the body will be taken to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s crime lab in Savannah, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Roberts, a retired plumber, lived in the home with his two grandchildren, Sheldon and Rae Winnyoung.
Sheldon Winnyoung said he had gone out to ride his bike and when he returned, found the home had burned.
“He was my best friend.” Sheldon Winnyoung said of his grandfather. “I asked him never to leave me. Now I have to put my faith in God that He will lead me on the right path. I will miss him.”
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