Benton woman killed in house fire - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Benton woman killed in house fire

(Source: Carly O'Keefe) (Source: Carly O'Keefe)
(Source: Carly O'Keefe) (Source: Carly O'Keefe)
(Source: Carly O'Keefe) (Source: Carly O'Keefe)

According to the Benton Fire Chief, a 56-year-old woman died in a house fire Thursday morning in Benton, Illinois.

It happened between 7:30-8 a.m. at a home on 1217 North Main.

Franklin County Coroner, Marty P. Leffler says the female victim is identified as 56-year-old Joni Rae Ziegler.

According to Franklin County Coroner Marty Leffler, preliminary autopsy results reveal that  Ziegler died from smoke inhalation. Funeral arrangements for Joni Rae Ziegler are pending at the Union Funeral Home of West Frankfort.

Neighbor Patty Hopkins says Ziegler's son made it out alive and franticly knocked on her door for help.

"I didn't know what was going on and I asked him if his mom got out and he said 'no, she's still in there," said Hopkins. "He said 'I tried to get her to wake up', and I guess she was in the bedroom, that's where they pulled her out of."

The coroner says authorities received the 911 call just before 8 a.m. on the structure fire. 

Benton Fire Department arrived on scene and was told there might be a female occupant still inside the home.  Once inside they discovered the victim deceased in the front bedroom area of the home. Crews requested the coroner to come to the address of the fire.

Other departments responding to the scene included the West City, Ewing-Northern, and West Frankfort Fire Departments; the Benton Police Department and Franklin County Sheriff's Department.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.

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