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Woman dead after three fires ignite in five days at Bedford residence

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MONETA (WSLS 10) - One of three fires in five days at a Bedford County home left a 70-year-old woman dead. All have been ruled accidental.

The first fire happened at an outbuilding Wednesday. The second on Saturday July, 25 happened around 6:45 a.m. Multiple 911 calls were made to Bedford County Fire & Rescue for a fire in the 1100 block of Hales Ford Road in Moneta.

Crews from Moneta, Stewartsville and Bedford fire departments were told someone may be trapped inside when they arrived. They found 70-year-old Barbara Ann Sayers, who lived in the house with the owners who were out of town at the time. Sayers was deceased when she was found.

Crews reentered and extinguished the fire. No one else was inside.

The third fire happened the next day around 6:45 a.m. The same fire and rescue agencies again responded to find the majority of the structure in flames. After the third fire, an investigative team was assembled consisting of representatives from the Fire Marshal's Office, the Bedford County Sheriff's Office, and the Roanoke office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as representatives from the homeowner's insurance company.

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This team spent additional hours examining the scene of these two fires and interviewing many people. The investigation revealed discarded smoking materials placed in a combustible wastebasket in the master bedroom by the deceased was the cause of the second fire. The third fire seemed to have been caused by rekindling of the second fire. All were ruled accidental.

Due to the instability of the structure in some areas, the Bedford County Department of Fire & Rescue's Special Operations Command was called in to shore up the floor.