2 dead in Oktibbeha fire

January 10, 2013 11:23:18 AM



Officials with the state fire marshal and the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office are expected to announce that two bodies have been recovered from debris following a Wednesday house fire on Bardwell Road that kept emergency services occupied late into the night.  


Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said today that two bodies had been recovered, but officials with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department would not confirm that information. Rosenhan said they are looking for another victim at the scene. 


"We quit late last night, and we are going to be back out there this morning," said Rosenhan. "We are going to continue searching and examining the debris." 


Three people were reported missing after first responders with the East Oktibbeha Fire Department arrived at 6 Bardwell Road at 11:57 a.m. Wednesday.  


The large wooden house was engulfed by the time first responders arrived, Rosenhan said, and several other departments were called in to assist with the blaze, which took several hours to extinguish. 


The three missing persons have yet to be officially identified, but the county tax assessors office confirmed that the owner of the property is Celia Robson. Robson is believed to share the home with her husband, George. The Robsons' grandson, Samuel Morris, was believed to have been at the scene at the time of the fire, as was a care-giver, who has been identified as Geraldine Rice.  


George Robson, who was reportedly inside the house at some point during the fire, was sitting on a porch next door, and was the only witness available. George Robson was unable to provide any information, and was taken to the Oktibbeha County Hospital. 


George Robson is 89 years old. His wife, Celia is 91.  


Celia Robson, a physical therapist, was a pioneer in indoor pool therapy. She graduated from Duke University in 1947 with a degree in physical therapy. She worked for years in physical therapy at Duke University and a children's hospital in South Carolina before working for 25 years at Mississippi State University's Longest Student Health Center.  


She opened her own physical therapy clinic in 1988. Once she retired, Robson continued to have a private practice in her home until 2006.  


The home sat on 5.15 acres.  


The cause of the fire is still unknown, but the house has been declared a total loss. 


Rosenhan said six of the state's fire marshals -- including Ricky Davis, the state's chief deputy fire marshal -- arrived in Starkville Wednesday and have been participating in the investigation and clean up. 


Dispatch reporter Sarah Fowler contributed to this report.