Well-known Atlanta community member dies in house fire

ATLANTA — A 94-year-old woman died trying to escape her burning home. Firefighters said she was just steps from her front door when she collapsed.

Sally Skrine was well known in her northwest Atlanta neighborhood. Friends said she would give out food to anyone who asked.

Firefighters said just before 1 a.m. Friday, they were sent to the home on Collier Road. They arrived within seven minutes, but the house was heavily involved in fire.

Firefighters said burglar bars were on every door and window, making it challenging to get inside the home.

“It was a struggle to get in because once we realize we have someone possibly inside, we want to take out every window, every door, and I will admit, it was a little difficult because those burglar bars are strong. It’s an older home, and they were put in there very well,” said Atlanta fire Sgt. Cortez Stafford.


Skrine’s neighbor for decades said she had a heart of gold.

“She just turned out to be a wonderful person who was always giving. She had a food pantry in her basement,” said neighbor Bernard Bradley. “She would go to people that she knew were in need of food, and she would take food to them."

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Sutton told Channel 2 Action News Skrine was a volunteer missionary.

In fact, Skrine had such an impact on the community, Sutton's church named a ministry in her honor.

“It’s the Sally Skrine Missionary Ministry, and we just love her. Everybody did,” Sutton said.

Investigators said the fire likely started at the stove, which was left on.