Velma Granderson, 84, died in the fire on Rusche Road in Benton. Her two daughters and a grandson were also in the home but they escaped without injury.
Cornelius Woodberry, Granderson’s grandson, is still trying to make sense of what happened Tuesday night. Woodberry believes the fire started in his grandmother’s room. He says the door was locked and even though other family members were at home, they couldn’t get Granderson out.
“Terrible. She didn’t deserve to die like that. Don’t nobody deserve to get burned alive inside their house,” said Woodberry.
Deputy Sheriff Simon Stubblefield said:
“I was the first arriving officer on scene. Noticed that the fire was already coming out of the windows on the north west side of the house. Spoke to several residents that was standing outside and they advised there was a relative inside the house that did not make it out.”
Fire investigators say they’re still working to determine what caused the fire. Firefighters got the call just before 9 last night and arrived within about 10 minutes. At that time, the house was engulfed in flames and firefighters could not get inside.
After 40 minutes, they got the fire under control and that’s when they recovered Granderson’s body. The state fire marshal’s office is working with Yazoo County on this investigation. That’s typical in any case where someone dies in a fire.
“She was great. She was a loving mother grandmother and great grandmother. All of them loved her,” said Woodberry.
Granderson’s family believes someone intentionally set the fire, but Yazoo County officials say they’re still investigating and have not made any arrests at this time.