|Updated: 1/16/2012 2:58 pm
||Published: 1/15/2012 10:19 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - "She loved life and lived an interesting life," said Nolan Gregory less than 24 hours after a house fire killed his relative, 88-year-old Stephani Bach. Gregory says Bach came to Arkansas from Germany right after World War II. A seamstress who worked out of her Little Rock home, she's lived there since the '50's.
While her official cause of death is undetermined, family members say they've been told the fire started with a candle burning in the bathroom.
"I wish I could have somehow kept her from lighting candles or could've been here to take care of her and stop her," said Gregory, "but you know I was here as much as I could be, and she was independent. Wanted to be alone in her house."
Firefighters say smoke caused most of the damage to Bach's home, about $20,000 worth to the home and another $10,000 worth in property damage. They say Bach had the appropriate safety measures in place. They just weren't enough.
"We did have a smoke detector in that room that was on the floor going off," Capt. Randy Hickman of the Little Rock Fire Department. "So if she was asleep, she had probably heard that and went to that room to investigate." Hickman says the smoke likely proved to be too much for Bach to overcome.
Now, Gregory and his family search for a way to cope and move-on.
"We don't know," he said. "You know, we got two children, and we''ll just have to see."