Fire Kills Carthage Woman, Seriously Injures Another

Fire Kills Carthage Woman, Seriously Injures Another

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A Carthage woman is dead and another severely injured following a fire on South Clinton Street in the village Monday morning.

Village police say 77 year old Bette Shampine died after she and 66 year old Susanne Blinebry were removed from the burning home and taken to Carthage Area Hospital.

Blinebry was transferred to a Syracuse hospital.  According to SUNY Upstate Medical University, she was in serious condition in the burn unit Monday afternoon.

The house, attached garage, and a car in the driveway at 316 South Clinton were destroyed.

Officials say they're investigating the cause and have called in extra hands to help.

"We have requested officials from state fire's fire investigation unit to come up and give us a hand with this, which is nothing unusual," Jefferson County Fire Coordinator Joe Plummer said, "especially when we get a real serious injury, we just like another set of eyes to assist us."

When firefighters arrived on the scene at around 4 a.m., they found the home engulfed in flames with heavy smoke.

Officials said firefighters pulled the two women from the home and began lifesaving efforts.

Fire officials said the fire was out as of about 7 a.m. 

Meanwhile, Yvonne Ablan and others gathered at St. James Catholic Church in Carthage to remember Shampine. They described the lifelong Carthage resident as an important part of the Catholic community. Shampine would often serve as a lector during mass.

"She was a pillar of St. James Church. She kept us all going, all the different organizations that she was a member of. She gave 100 percent to everything she did. She is going to be greatly missed in Carthage, in the church, at the academy," said

Shampine loved teaching. Earlier in her life she served as a nun with Sisters of St. Joseph's in Massena, where she taught with Sister Annunciata Collins.

"We'll miss her teasing. I'll really miss laughing with her," said Collins.

After leaving religious life, Shampine taught at Harrisville Central School.

"It hasn't sunk in, I think, for most of us. We just can't think of life without Bette," said Ablin.

As the women remembered Shampine, they prayed for Blinebry. They said Blinebry was staying with and taking care of Shampine, who recently broke her foot. 

The following agencies responded and assisted: Carthage Wilna Fire Department; West Carthage Fire Department; Black River Fire Department; Fort Drum Fire Department; Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management; Fire Investigators from the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control; Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department; West Carthage Police Department, and
New York State Police.

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