Fire

A woman died in a structure fire in Branson Monday night.

Branson city officials have named a woman who died in a house fire Monday evening.

According to a city spokesperon, Verla Simmons, 75, is the victim of the fire on the 800 block of Shady Drive.

According to Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin, crews responded to the fire at 8:10 p.m. According to a press release from the city, the first arriving fire engine reported flames and smoke showing from a front bedroom window.

Martin said crews were able to keep the flames contained before moving into the home. Once inside, they came across Simmons, who was unresponsive on the floor of the living room.

“They were able to get her out,” Martin said. “They started CPR along with the paramedics from (Taney County Ambulance District). They gave it their best effort, but she wasn’t able to be revived.”

Martin said the fire is currently under investigation, with the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s  Office also providing assistance.

“We know the fire started in the bedroom,” Martin said. “We’re still trying to pinpoint the exact cause and why did it happen and how can it be prevented from happening again.”

The smoke alarms in the residence were functioning, according to Martin, who emphasized the importance of having a plan in case of a fire.

Simmons was not named until Tuesday evening, after family was notified. The city spokesperson said there was no new updates on the investigation, but that the fire appeared to be accidental.

“Big fires start small,” he said. “Small fires produce a huge amount of smoke, and smoke is what kills.”

Both the Western Taney County Fire Protection District and the Southern Stone County Fire Protection District also responded to a request for aid.

Monday marks the first fire fatality in three years in Branson. In 2015, local musician Charles Landry died in a house fire near Alexander Park.

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