Coworkers Recall Woman Killed in Overnight Fire - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/19/04

Coworkers Recall Woman Killed in Overnight Fire

The scene just before 4am today. The scene just before 4am today.

A fire in Savannah early this morning took the life of a 20-year-old college student. Just before 4am, someone noticed smoke and flames coming from a house on East Charlton Lane. The fire started in the living room and spread to the second floor and the attic.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they pulled 20-year-old Jane Thurber out of the house and began CPR. Paramedics worked on the victim for more than ten minutes.

"They brought her out assessed her and immediately gave her oxygen and CPR," Battalion Chief Anthony Faust told us. "EMS arrived on the scene she was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead."

Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire, and Thurber's family and friends are still in shock. This is a very tough time for her coworkers, knowing Thurber will never come back to the place that she called home in Savannah, or the Olympia Cafe on River Street where they all worked together.

Today was a quiet afternoon at the Olympia. Customers came and went, but for the people who work there, something is horribly wrong.

Cafe owner Nick Pappas told us, "I couldn't believe it. You know, four o'clock in the morning, someone calls you at the house and they tell you one of your employees is dead."

Pappas raced to Thurber's home to see what he could do. He hired the quiet girl--a SCAD student who loved to draw--back in March.

"She was a very nice girl," Pappas said. "She would be in here quietly, smiling, drawing all the time. She had a pen and scrap paper and she was always drawing."

A few months ago, Thurber was in a car accident and actually had to stop working. She only came back to work a few weeks ago, but little did her coworkers know that Tuesday night would be the last time she would work here.

"I was completely shocked," said coworker Sean Farrell. "I got a phone call this morning from one of my coworkers here, telling me about it. She was a real sweet girl. Not only did we work together, we used to hang out together."

Her regular customers remember her well. "Nice girl. Everybody liked her," said customer Manos Vernicos.

"Everyone here still doesn't believe this," said Pappas. "It's like we're still waiting for her to come to work."

The Savannah College of Art and Design, where Thurber was a freshman, is still waiting to talk with her family in Massachusetts, before making plans for any memorial for her. Of course, we'll keep you up to date on that and the investigation into the cause of this terrible fire that cut this young woman's life short.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

Powered by Frankly