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Fire victim died of smoke inhalation
Updated on: 01.29.13
The woman found dead inside a burned Nashville home Monday morning succumbed to smoke inhalation.

Chief Deputy Coroner Earl Piper released the cause of death for 60-year-old Cheryl D. Burris Tuesday afternoon after an autopsy conducted in Seymour. He did not know the exact time of her death, but said Burris had likely died by the time a school bus driver called 911 after seeing smoke pouring from the back of her home in downtown Nashville.

Piper noted that smoke inhalation can kill a person in a matter of minutes.

Brown County (Nashville) firefighters responded to 148 E. Washington St. after Brown County Schools bus driver Tom Cook smelled burnt plastic in the air while prepping his bus in the nearby parking lot at about 6 a.m.

Cook traced the odor to Burris’ home and called 911. When he walked to the front of the house, he discovered flames leaping from inside the single-story structure.

Cook began notifying neighbors at about the time Nashville Chief Deputy Ben Seastrom arrived on scene. The two of them began banging on the walls of Burris’ home, trying to wake anyone inside.

Cook said he navigated thick smoke billowing from the windows to get to the back door. The door was locked, and the handle was hot to the touch. He and Seastrom then backed away from the burning house, he said.

Brown County (Nashville) Volunteer Fire Chief Dallas “Dak” Kelp said firefighters had the fire extinguished in about 35 minutes. They had tried to get in the house after learning that someone may be inside, but a collapsing ceiling and intense flames forced them to retreat.

Fire destroyed a major portion of the home. Burris was found inside a bedroom at the back of the house.

Her neighbor, Wanda Reding, keeps watching Burris’ front porch, waiting for her to emerge for a friendly chat before heading off to work at the Brown County Inn. The sudden death of her friend has not sunk in.

“She was a real sweetheart,” Reding said. “She was one of those type of friends you knew was there if you needed her.”

They shared books, exchanged Christmas cards and watched each other’s cats when out of town.

Reding also complimented firefighters for protecting her home, about 10 feet away.

“God bless the firemen. They did a wonderful job,” she said. “They were miraculous. To me, they’re like angels.”

Reding thanked Cook’s quick thinking to alert neighbors. He accepted but downplayed his role.

“You see a fire, you call 911, and you knock on people’s doors. There’s nothing extraordinary about that,” Cook said. “Anybody else would have done the same thing. The next person in the bus lot would have done the same thing.”

An official cause of the fire has not been released by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s Division of Fire and Building Safety, which conducts fatal fire investigations throughout the state.

Bond-Mitchell Funeral Home is handling Burris’ funeral arrangements.

A memorial service is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Brown County Inn.

Read her obituary by clicking here.

  • September 4
    Farmers market in Bean Blossom
    4 to 7 p.m. St. David's Episcopal Church, 11 State Road 45 at 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • September 4
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • September 4
    "Rounding Third" at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 5
    BCHS class of 2005 reunion slated
    3 to 6 p.m., 8 p.m. Deer Run Park; Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • September 5
    "Rounding Third" at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 6
    Read to dogs at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 6
    'Ant-Man' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 7
    'Ant-Man' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 7
    Government offices CLOSED
  • September 8
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • September 8
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • September 8
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. BCCF, 209 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 8
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive, CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • September 8
    Retired teachers
    noon Hotel Nashville, 245 N. Jefferson St.
  • September 8
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • September 9
    Nashville Town Council
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • September 10
    'Ant-Man' at the Playhouse
    7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 10
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • September 11
    "Rounding Third" at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 12
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • September 12
    Bible camp planned
    8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 5802 Old Settlers Road behind Brownie's restaurant
  • September 12
    "Rounding Third" at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 12
    Beer and live music at inn
    12:30 to 4 p.m. Story Inn, 6404 State Road 135 South
  • September 12
    Live birds of prey at fundraiser
    5 to 9 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • September 12
    Concert, dinner for emergency services
    7 p.m., 8 p.m. to midnight Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • September 13
    'Ant-Man' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • September 14
    Beeline beekeepers club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 15
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • September 17
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 18
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    4 to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg
  • September 18
    'A Miracle for You' services with evangelist Jerry Holland
    7:30 p.m. The Pentecostals
  • September 19
    BucCornEar Festival fundraiser returns
    8 a.m. to 8 p.m. JTFD, 4831 Helmsburg Road, Helmsburg
  • September 19
    'A Miracle for You' services with evangelist Jerry Holland
    6 p.m. The Pentecostals
  • September 20
    'A Miracle for You' services with evangelist Jerry Holland
    2 p.m. The Pentecostals
  • September 26
    CCC reunion slated at state park
    10:30 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • September 28
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • September 28
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • October 4
    Read to a dog at the library
    2 to 3:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane