Carthage Fire Survivor Still Unconscious, Officials Say

Carthage Fire Survivor Still Unconscious, Officials Say

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A day after Bette Shampine died following a fire at her Carthage home, her nephew, Scott, walked around the South Clinton Street house in disbelief.

Too emotional to talk on camera, he shared that this is where his family spent all the holidays.

As for the fire, he doesn't believe it started inside the home. Instead, he thinks it began in a car parked nearby.

Jefferson County's director of emergency management, Joe Plummer, says that's one possibility.

"We're looking at that end of the house along the driveway. There's substantial damage to the car. There's also substantial damage to the garage and that end of the house. One of the things we have to do is examine all the evidence at hand and find out what happened and try to rule some things out," said Plummer.

Investigators want to talk with the woman who survived, 66 year old Susanne Blinebry. She and Bette were found unconscious in separate rooms. Plummer says it might be a while before they can talk with her.

"In this situation, we have a lady that's in a Syracuse hospital that's unconscious. We're kind of waiting, hoping for the best for her and that she will come around and be able to answer some questions for us when that happens. It's a key witness to this situation and that's one of the things we're waiting on," he said.

Blinebry was in serious condition at SUNY Upstate Medical University Tuesday afternoon.

Friends and family have stopped by the residence, even leaving bouquets of flowers to commemorate Shampine's legacy in the community.

Shampine was a lifelong resident of Carthage, retired Harrisville teacher and a longtime member of St. James Catholic Church.

The community can pay their respects at Friday's calling hours. The funeral is Saturday at the Augustinian Academy gymnasium.

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