Two die in early morning house fire

SPARTA — The state fire marshal's office will try to determine what caused a house fire that killed two people early this morning in Hancock County.

Arthur Benson, 80, and Lynnya Henderson, 33, apparently died of smoke inhalation, said Hancock County coroner Alexander Ingram, who pronounced them dead at the scene of the fire that was reported after midnight on Ga. 16 west in Sparta. The relationship between the victims was unclear.

Sparta-Hancock Fire Chief Jim Blake said they were not immediately able to pinpoint what started the fire in the medium-sized brick house on the Eatonton Highway.

"When we got there it was already through the roof," Blake said. "The whole house, except for the back porch was already gone."

Firefighters from Hancock State Prison assisted in fighting the blaze as crews worked for about four hours at the scene, Blake said.