Fatal fire's cause sought

February 18, 2003 12:00 am

By AMY LINDBLOM

A Sonora woman has been tentatively identified as the victim of an accidental fatal house fire on Berry Lane on Sunday.

Robin Lou Fields is the only person unaccounted for after the fire, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Lt. John Steely said this morning.

"But it's not official until we make identification through dental records," Steely said.

"The investigators have ruled out foul play," he said.

A neighbor called 911 about 5 p.m. Sunday, after spotting a huge column of black smoke coming from the house on the 18200 block of Berry Lane, just south of Sonora. The house is owned by the Ed Fields family.

Although firefighters arrived within minutes of the call, the house was fully engulfed in flames when crews got there, said Tuolumne County Fire Department Information Officer Deborah Fish.

Sheriff and fire department investigators combed through the debris looking for the origin of the fire, but as of this morning, had released no findings.

Sgt. Chris Harrison said investigators were at the house until late Sunday night, then returned yesterday. The body was removed about 11 a.m. yesterday and an autopsy is scheduled for this week, Harrison said.

"There was a flare up Sunday night, and fire crews had to go back out to put it out," Harrison said.

The house suffered extensive damage — an estimated $350,000 loss — said Fish.

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