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Spring St. fire claims life of local resident


By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer

Authorities are investigating a fire on Spring Street Saturday morning that claimed the life of a resident.

The victim has been identified as Donnie Bliss, 57.
Mt. Sterling Police and Montgomery County Fire-EMS were called to the home at 439 Spring St. just before 11 a.m., according to MSPD Det. Aaron Noel.

The home was totally engulfed in flames when first responders arrived, Noel said.

Two rooms were fully involved and the fire was starting to enter the attic when firefighters arrived, Charles Fugate, a battalion chief with the MCFD, said.

As firefighters entered the home and were advancing hose line they found Bliss in the front bedroom, Fugate told the Advocate.

Bliss’s body was found in the front bedroom closest to Spring Street, Noel said. Bliss was pronounced dead by Coroner Jimmy Adams at 11:30 a.m.

A neighbor reportedly tried to make entry to the home, but was unable to do so because of the intense heat, the detective said.
Fugate said the neighbor first went to the front door of the residence and was unable to get in so he went to the back, where he was also unable to make entry.

The neighbor, Fugate said, suspected Bliss was still in the home when the fire was first discovered.

Bliss reportedly lived alone in the home with his two dogs, Noel said.
One of the dogs reportedly escaped in the process of the neighbor attempting to enter the back door, while the other died in the front bedroom alongside Bliss, Noel said.
The state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort will be conducting an autopsy. Results of the autopsy should be available in about four weeks, Adams said.

Cause of death will be determined during the autopsy, he said.
Noel said nothing suspicious was found during initial investigation and the cause remains under investigation.

Noel and a fire investigator with the Kentucky State Police London post returned to the property again Monday afternoon to look for additional clues as to the cause of the fire.
The investigation is ongoing and the fire investigator is expected to release his report in about a month, Noel said. For now the KSP is listing the cause as undetermined.

Bliss formerly lived on East High Street.
Noel said authorities received numerous calls reporting the fire and first responders appreciate the willingness of the public to get involved.
Herald and Stewart Home for Funerals in Mt. Sterling is in charge of arrangements. The family has asked for a private memorial at a later date, the funeral home told the Advocate.

Two fire engines and 15 personnel responded to the scene of the fire. They used approximately 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of water to bring the fire under control, Fugate said.

He said the fire dept. was helped that there was a fire hydrant near the house to provide easy access to water.