Mother dead, 2-year-old in critical condition after Elizabethton apartment fire

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ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) – Elizabethton Fire Department officials said a woman who was critically injured in an apartment fire Wednesday night has died.

EFD Capt. Andy Hardin, told News Channel 11 20-year-old Dana Keeling died on Thursday.

Keeling’s 2-year-old daughter, Sara, remains in critical condition at Johnson City Medical Center.

Fire crews responded to an apartment fire on Pine Ridge Circle Wednesday around 6 p.m.

According to the release, a preliminary investigation revealed that fire started at the couch in the downstairs front room of the apartment and appears to be accidental from an unattended candle.

Firefighters found Keeling and her daughter in the upstairs bedroom with injuries that appeared to have been from smoke from the fire.

Neighbors of Dana Keeling are still in disbelief.

April Bardo said she just came inside from getting something out of her truck, when she looked out the window and saw the glow of the fire.

“When I looked up and seen that glow I did a double take I thought. ‘Oh my God.’ And I went running with the phone and out the door,” Bardo said.

“That’s all I could think was:’Oh God, that baby’s in there Somebody needs to get in there to get her out,'” she continued.

Elizabethton police said Dana called in the fire and dispatch stayed on the line with her until she lost consciousness.

“We tried to get in, but like I said the flames went so fast up the building that there was no way,” Bardo said.

Elizabethton Fire Marshal, Andy Hardin, says the State Fire Marshal is now investigating the cause.

“We’re going to go back and look through the scene, talk to some of the neighbors and just look through — basically, [we are] looking for the cause of the fire,” Capt. Hardin said.

Kelly Geagley, with the housing authority, said there are smoke detectors on each level of every apartment and crews did a routine maintenance check on the apartment at the end of October.

Capt. Hardin says they are trying to determine whether or not the apartment had working smoke detectors.

“We’re still kind of investigating all that, but we do believe there was at least one that was functioning at the time,” he said.

The Housing Authority said the Keelings lived in the apartment for 15 months.

During their last inspection last month, everything including the smoke detectors, checked out okay.

Copyright 2016 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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