Woman found deceased in house fire 'friendly' and 'likeable'

Woman found deceased in house fire 'friendly' and 'likeable'

Debbie Hood at a neighbour's place about 2012. Her death was discovered by emergency responders who were called to her eastside home which was on fire Saturday night. (Photo from Faye Fisher)

A 63-year-old Owen Sound woman died at the scene of a fire in her eastside home Saturday night.

City police issued a news release Monday identifying the victim as Deborah Hood after a criminal and Office of the Fire Marshal investigation. The cause of the fire is not considered suspicious, police said.

Emergency responders arrived at 1691 5thAve. E. shortly after 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Police said a neighbour told them that the homeowner might still be inside the house, which police entered but were forced back by heavy smoke.

Fire crews contained the fire, searched the residence and found an unconscious woman inside, later identified as Ms. Hood. Grey County EMS were unable to resuscitate her.

Owen Sound Fire Chief Doug Barfoot declined to comment Monday on either the cause of death or cause of the fire until the results of a post-mortem examination are known.

But he said the number of items in the home made it “extremely difficult for our suppression crews to do their job effectively.” The amount of contents meant that the fire didn’t really reach what he called a “free-burning state.

“So there was a tremendous amount of smouldering, smoke and heat, which our guys had to deal with . . . and the excessive amount of contents and being able to search was extremely difficult for all the crews that were in there.”

Ms. Hood lived alone in the white two-storey home of her late parents, Jerry and Marg Hood, neighbour and friend Bill van Trigt said in a phone interview Monday. Van Trigt, 70, knew her and her family since childhood.

Ms. Hood lived a quiet life but van Trigt would see her at Tim Hortons at the top of the 10thStreet east hill, where she’d play cards and sit with friends, he said. She was friendly and likeable, van Trigt said.

She told him about seven or eight years ago that she was a substitute teacher and was working in Wiarton. Her family belonged to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, where van Trigt maintained the church property until a couple of years ago.

“She was a nice girl. Like anybody, she had her troubles,” he said.

Faye Fisher, a family friend and neighbour, confirmed Debbie Hood was a supply teacher with the Bluewater District School Board. She also worked at the Owen Sound hospital library.

Ms. Hood loved to read, she knew a lot and one of her favourite TV shows was Jeopardy. She also played Sudoku and she kept mostly to herself.

For a time about 15 years ago, Ms. Hood was a caregiver for Faye’s father, Charlie Fisher, and the two of them shared a dog, Corky. Charlie Fisher kept the little dog during the day while Ms. Hood was at work, then she took her home at night.

“Certainly my family cared about her for quite a while and really tried to help her. But she wasn’t at a point in her life where she was able to accept that,” Faye Fisher said.

“And she had a very strong friendship with my father, who’s very old. And he is hurting because of this. Because he wasn’t able to help her.”

Fisher knew of no details about any funeral arrangements.

She said Ms. Hood is survived by her brother, Brad Hood of Kemble, and sister, Geraldine Wilson, who is of Vancouver Island, according to an obituary for Ms. Hood’s brother Peter Hood, who died in 2015. She’s also survived by her adopted brother, Tim Hood (Astier), of Brampton.

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