Mother, daughter die in house fire

Published 4:54 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lucille Williams and Paul Rivers have never seen flames like the ones they saw early Thursday morning that took the lives of a mother and daughter in a house fire.

Katrina Moore, 44, and her 20-year-old daughter Coleman, who had special needs, were killed in the blaze that started around 4 a.m. on the 800 block of Pettus Street.

“I’ve never seen such a fire,” Williams said Thursday afternoon.

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That morning started out just like any other morning for the couple. Williams had just woken up to get ready for work, and Rivers was about to fix her coffee so she could get her day started.

“Everything was just lit up. You could see through that window right there,” Rivers said as he pointed to a window above the front door of his Gary Avenue home. “I was like, ‘Baby, the house is on fire.’ I thought our house was on fire because it was so lit up, but I opened the door, and it was over there.”

Rivers said the streets were filled with trucks from the Selma Fire Department and cars from the Selma Police Department, trying to battle the blaze, as it got worse.

“They were trying to put it out, but the strength of the water was like squirting a water hose,” Rivers said.

Williams said it seemed like the hydrant did not have enough water pressure, and fire fighters had to use another one to help fight the fire.

“It’s like the thing just kept burning. They worked diligently trying to put it out,” Williams said. “It was just too much. It was really, really bad.”

Williams said it wasn’t until around three hours later at 7 a.m. when the fire was out that she was able to pull her car out of her driveway to go to work.

The couple didn’t know their neighbors well but saw them in passing.

“I didn’t really know them. We see them come in and out every now and then, but that’s about it,” Rivers said.

The couple said their thoughts and prayers are with the family members dealing with the aftermath.

It is unknown what started the fire. It is still under investigation by the Alabama State Fire Marshal.

When Selma Fire Chief Toney Stephens was asked to comment Thursday afternoon, he said the office was closed and he could be reached when it opened Friday morning.

Dallas County Coroner Alan Dailey said Coleman died in the fire, and her mother, Katrina, died at the hospital. Dailey said an autopsy would be done to determine an official cause of death for the mother and daughter.