09/26/06 — Woman, 88, dies in Monday blaze

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Woman, 88, dies in Monday blaze

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on September 26, 2006 1:57 PM

PRINCETON -- An 88-year-old Princeton woman died Monday night in a fire at her home at the corner of East Third and Pierce streets.

Julia Odom, who lived alone, was visiting her sister, Esther Sasser, who lived next door, when she heard an explosion back at her home.

"She heard an explosion, went in to check it out and just didn't come back out," Mrs. Odom's grand-daughter, Tammy Eason said today.

The house was heavily damaged, especially at the rear near the kitchen.

"The only thing we know is that we think it started in the kitchen," said Ms. Eason.

The fire was investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation and the Johnston County Fire Inspector Task Force.

"There was no gas going into the residence," said Princeton Police Chief Eddie Lewis. "It was related to the stove, but it was not a case of unattended cooking. It was an electric short in the stove."

Mrs. Odom, a widow, was a retired nurse and had lived in the home for about 30 years.

"There was a lot of stuff popping," said neighbor Ed Wiggs. "She was an avid canner and was always putting stuff up. I think that what we heard popping were jars bursting open because the fire was so hot. A quart jar can make a lot of noise when it bursts open."

The fire started about 7:45 p.m. The Princeton Volunteer Fire Department responded to the alarm, with assistance from several other departments, including the Brogden, Oakland, Selma, Pine Level and Rosewood volunteer departments.