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‘So many great things to say about her life’

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Firefighters work though heavy billowing smoke to get at the fire that claimed the life of Carolyn Faulkner Edmondson on Tuesday. The home that belonged to the family for many generations was destroyed by the blaze. (Liza Fulton photo) / February 20, 2020

The death of Carolyn Faulkner Edmondson in a Tuesday house fire came as family members and neighbors gathered at the scene, helpless to save her life.

“There are so many great words I can say about my aunt and many others can, too,” said Monica Faulkner, Edmondson’s niece. She and others in the family recalled the 75-year-old as a spirited soul with a love for writing poetry, with prize-winning works, some registered at the Library of Congress, to her credit.

Edmondson loved children and would offer up her home to youths in need, having no children of her own. She was a frequent organizer of community events, with the entire neighborhood invited to attend.

All that ended Tuesday as a fire swept through her home at 1929 Crawley Avenue and claimed her life.

Firefighters got the call at 11:41 a.m. and arrived to find the two-story wood frame home consumed by fire and smoke. Using axes and chainsaws to tear away the exterior walls to get at the flames, it took firefighters several hours to bring the blaze fully under control. The home, which relatives said had been in the family for nearly 200 years, was destroyed.

Edmondson had been in poor health with limited mobility, and family members and neighbors said she usually kept seated in front of her woodstove.

Julanda Tucker, another niece of Edmondson’s, said she had spoken to her aunt on the telephone Tuesday morning. “She was sitting at her woodstove like always when we talked,” said Tucker.

Larry Faulkner, Edmondson’s brother and the last sibling of seven children, also watched the tragedy unfold Tuesday in the company of Tucker and Brian Strange, nephew of the deceased. As they mourned her death, they also lovingly remembered her life.

“Even after her health declined, she still helped [people] any way she could,” said Monica Faulkner.

Her remains have been sent to the medical examiner’s office in Roanoke to determine the exact cause of death.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and is being conducted by South Boston Police Sgt. Tiffany Bratton.

As is customary, Virginia State Police also are taking part in the investigation. “We are requested to help in fatal house fires,” explained 1st Sgt. Smith with the Virginia State Police office in Halifax. Also assisting is Special Agent James Buzzard with the Bomb and Arson Unit of the Virginia Criminal Investigation team located in Appomattox.

Firefighters with the South Boston, Cluster Springs and Halifax departments responded to the blaze with trucks and manpower. The Halifax County Rescue Squad and patient transport van also responded to the scene to help.

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