87-year-old woman dies in south Macon house fire

jgaines@macon.comNovember 14, 2013 

An 87-year-old woman, identified by friends and family as Eleanor Mellgram Stranahan, died Thursday afternoon in a fire in her home at 2904 Alfred Drive.

The fire is thought to have broken out about 4 p.m., her son Bill Stranahan said.

“The neighbor across the street heard her scream a couple of times,” he said.

Rescuers broke a window in an attempt to get her out, but it was too late, said her son, who was at work at the time of the blaze.

“I couldn’t ask for a better mother,” Bill Stranahan said. “Best in the world, and I will miss her.

“I got up and had breakfast with her this morning, and everything was fine, you know?”

Eleanor Stranahan was found in a bedroom, said Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins, who was on the scene. The fire’s cause remains under investigation, but investigators suspect it may have been an electrical overload, perhaps from running a space heater that was found in the room, he said.

“We’ll know sometime soon, maybe tomorrow,” Riggins said. “It does not appear (she) had a working smoke detector in the house at this time.”

The home’s left front corner was burned out, with windows broken on the front and side. Smoke and flames blackened the home’s eaves.

Margaret Stranahan owned the 58-year-old two-bedroom frame house, according to the Bibb County tax assessor’s records.

“She’s from Macon, lived here all her life,” Bill Stranahan said.

A group of her longtime friends from Bloomfield United Methodist Church clustered around the stop sign at the corner of Alfred and Nisbet drives.

Margaret Stranahan was a very active member there, said Mel and Margarett Creech.

“She taught Sunday School ever since I can remember,” Margarett Creech said. “We’re going to truly miss her.”

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

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