House fire takes lives of elderly couple

Friday, January 4th 2008, 10:28 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

A fire in the night not only destroys a home, but also takes the lives of a couple, happily married for 70 years.

The elderly couple lived with their son and daughter-in-law in Tecumseh.

The couple, Max and Ruth Rollins, were both in their 90s. It was only a few years ago when they moved in with family, for health reasons.

Their home, now un-inhabitable, still smoldered from a fire early Friday morning.

Terry Matlock, who's wife called 911, ran to the home with a fire extinguisher trying to help.

"My neighbor just came over here screaming that their house is on fire," Matlock said. "There was so much going on everyone running every which direction."

The home owners were able to get out of the burning home. Matlock, along with the elderly couple's son, tried to go back in to save his parents.

"We crawled; I was calling on my hands and knees this far," Matlock said.  "And trying to do the extinguisher but we, I could not get any farther then this hallway, so we had to back out it was just too intense."

Firefighters found 91 year old Ruth and 93 year old Max in the back bedroom where they believe the fire started.

"The female was found still on the bed an the male was found on the floor close to the bedroom door," said Tecumseh Deputy Fire Chief J.R. Kidney.

Fire officials also found a space heater in the back bedroom. It may be root of the tragedy, but the state fire marshal's office will investigate and determine the actual cause of the deadly fire.

Unfortunately, this family has been through this before. Fire officials tell us about 15 years ago, on the same plot of land, there was another fire that destroyed their home.