Car fire severely burns Rutherford Co. woman - WSMV Channel 4

Car fire severely burns Rutherford Co. woman

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ROCKVALE, TN (WSMV) -

The Rutherford County Sheriff's Department is investigating how a car caught fire, critically burning a 67-year-old woman in her backyard.

Authorities said quick thinking by a deputy may have saved the woman's life.

The fire occurred while the car was parked at a home on Versailles Road around 8 a.m. in Rockvale, TN.

A volunteer firefighter who lives nearby first saw the smoke from the fire and ran to the house.

It was only after Sheriff's Deputy Shane Vaughn arrived when the men realized victim, Thelmarine May Frazier, was inside the burning car, attempting to crawl out.

"He found a woman on fire outside the burning car," said Lisa Marchesoni, Rutherford County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. "He grabbed her and drug her away."

The fire was so intense there nothing was left but the shell of the car. At one point, officials said the woman's chest and even her hair was on fire.

"She has life-threatening injuries," Marchesoni said.

The Rutherford County Criminal Investigative Division collected evidence at the scene Monday, but officials don't believe any foul play was involved.

Folks who know Frazier were shocked to hear what happened to her.

"It's a terrible thing. I just pray she's alright," said friend Bob Maxwell. "It hurts. It really hurts. I'm torn up over it."

Friends said Frazier recently had a kidney transplant and was doing well in recovery from surgery. Many are now wondering what exactly happened to cause the car to catch fire.

Even those who saw the woman on fire are trying to make sense of it all, according to officials.

"I'm sure it's hard on anybody, if you respond and see something like that. It's hard to comprehend," Marchesoni said.

LifeFlight helicopter took the woman to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, where she was listed in critical condition.

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