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Eight Die in Ga. Mobile Home Fire

March 29, 2000

ACWORTH, Ga. (AP) _ Fire destroyed a mobile home early today and killed eight people, including an infant, authorities said.

Five bodies were found in a bedroom near the back door and three others were in the front of the four-bedroom, double-wide mobile home, said police Maj. Chuck Martin.

``It appears they were all trying to exit,″ said Mark Gresham, a spokesman for the Cobb County Fire Department.

Neighbor Jim Wheeling said he tried to open windows to get to the victims.

``I picked up a big ol’ rock and slammed it into the plate glass window, but it wouldn’t break,″ said Wheeling, a 40-year-old construction worker.

The victims were Linda Joanne Cochran, her four children, her niece, her teen-age son’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s baby, said Ed Converse, who owns the mobile home park. He said Cochran worked for him as maintenance supervisor until two weeks ago, when she quit to manage a fast-food restaurant.

``Everybody liked Joanne. She was close to her kids. If there was a stray, she took them in _ anyone, anything. She had a huge heart,″ he said.

The names of the other victims were not immediately available.

Police said the fire at the Modern Living Mobile Home Park in Acworth, about 30 miles northwest of Atlanta, was reported at 3:16 a.m.

Converse said some of the mobile homes in the park were 15 to 20 years old, but all are equipped with smoke detectors. He rents them for $125 to $150 a week.

However, state Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine said there was no evidence of a working smoke detector in the home.

He said the fire started in or around a clothes dryer.

Update hourly