Fire destroys home where Carter woman’s body found

John Thompson • Nov 15, 2012 at 4:19 PM

ELIZABETHTON — Details surrounding the death of a Blevins Hollow woman over the weekend became more suspicious for the Carter County Sheriff’s Department Tuesday night when the woman’s mobile home was destroyed in a fire that appeared to be arson.

“It is unusual to have a death and then a fire a few days later in the same place ,” Sheriff Chris Mathes said Wednesday. He said there appears to be several points of origin for the fire. He said the case remains under investigation.

The sheriff’s department was notified of the death of Sabrina Michelle Smith, 50, 311 Blevins Hollow Road on Saturday afternoon.

Lt. Jeff Markland was dispatched to the scene and found Smith to be dead and lying in her bedroom. The death was discovered by a friend, Ernest Richardson.

Richardson told investigators he had arrived at Smith’s home about 30 minutes before he called 911 at noon. He said he found Smith to be unresponsive in her bed, but she was still warm to the touch. He tried waking her, but was not able to do so. He then called 911.

The Carter County Rescue Squad responded and moved Smith to the floor, where they began first aid.

Markland said Smith’s daughter was in the home the night before her death and said she did not notice anything out of the ordinary.

Markland reported that Smith has a lengthy medical history and a history of medication overdose.

Coroner Benny Colbaugh and Carter County investigator Sgt. Brian Durham took over the investigation.

Mathes said the fire was reported Tuesday night. The Stoney Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded quickly and extinguished the fire, but the trailer was destroyed.

The sheriff’s department arson investigator, Travis Ludlow, is investigating the fire.

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