Victim of Borden house fire identified

By Elizabeth Donatelli - bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway - email

BORDEN, IN (WAVE) - An early morning house fire in Clark County Indiana has killed a 71-year-old woman. The blaze happened at a home in the 300 block of East Main Street in Borden.

Long-time friend Arley Griffith lives in a guest house out back. He said he broke the window and tried to rescue 71-year-old Ruth Ann Riley who was trapped inside. "Come on out there because it got hot and the damn roof started falling in and then I come on out of that damn thing."

The Clark County Sheriff's Investigative Report does not mention his rescue effort, but does say a man driving by pulled over to help. According to the report, that person and another man who lived nearby tried to rescue Riley, but by the time they kicked in the door the smoke was too thick for them to get inside.

Dorothy Hurst told police that Riley had recently been robbed and had put three deadbolt locks on the door because of it. Hurst feared the woman was unable to unlock the deadbolts in time to escape.

"She was a nice woman she was she's a good woman wasn't no bad to her," said Griffith.

Friends say Riley was an avid gardener and even at the age of 71, always took care of everyone else.

The Indiana Fire Marshall's Office is investigating the cause. The Clark County Coroner said that Riley died from smoke inhalation. Friends say Riley did not smoke or use an oxygen tank.

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