November 26, 2020

Elderly man dies in Heard County campfire

(Franklin, GA) — The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John F. King announced today that  Robert Ratliff Jr., 71, was killed in an accidental fire on Saturday, November 14.

The fire occurred on the 12000  block of Highway 100 in Franklin.

This fire was reported by a property owner after he returned to his hunting camp around 7:00 PM.

The property owner reports that Mr. Ratliff had been staying at his property for approximately two weeks when he arrived to  find Mr. Ratliff’s body near a tree and the woods on fire.

“Our investigators believe Mr. Ratliff was getting out of his camping chair when he stumbled into the fire,” said Commissioner King in a press release. “This freak accident gives us heavy hearts as we pray for the loved ones impacted and we  continue to investigate this case.”

When a Heard County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived, he used a fire extinguisher on the fire and found Mr. Ratliff’s phone and wallet in the fire.

Mr. Ratliff’s death marks the 75th fire fatality in Georgia this year.

Commissioner King’s State Fire Investigations Unit is collaborating with the Heard County Sheriff’s Office,  Heard County Fire Department, Heard County Coroner’s Office, and Forestry Unit on this case.

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