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The Lake News Online
  • Victim identified in Sunrise Beach fatal fire

  • The victim of last Thursday's fatal fire in Sunrise Beach has been identified as David Ratterree, 51.
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  • The victim of last Thursday's fatal fire in Sunrise Beach has been identified as David Ratterree, 51.
    He was the only occupant of the house at 58 Winding Ashley Drive off of Route TT.
    While the fire has been classified as accidental, the exact cause has not been determined due to extensive damage caused by the blaze, according to Sunrise Beach Fire Chief Dennis Reilly.
    "This is a very tragic incident and on behalf of the Fire District and our members I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Ratterre," Reilly said.
    Firefighters with the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District were dispatched at 10:34 p.m. Nov. 14 to a fire in the vicinity of Paradise Restaurant.
    The initial reporting call came from people across the cove from the lakefront house. Calls from other parties were subsequently taken by communications, according to Reilly, but the department did not receive an exact address until later as the calls came from across the lake.
    Units were dispatched to explore the five to six different side roads that run in the vicinity, and it was the Sunrise Beach Police Department that ultimately located the fire.
    It took the fire department about nine minutes to arrive on scene after being dispatched, Reilly said.
    The first units on scene encountered a fully involved two story single family home located on the lakefront below the driveway.
    On scene, units received reports of the possibility of a victim being trapped inside. With the large volume of fire, firefighters were not able to enter building.
    According to Reilly, there was only one other full time resident besides Ratterree in the neighborhood of about a half dozen houses.
    The fire started to spread to a nearby yard and another house, but firefighters were able to stop the spread of the flames and prevent further destruction though the initial building was a total loss.
    "This was an extremely difficult fire to both located and fight. Our members did the best we could under difficult conditions," Reilly said.
    The issue of finding a fire is common in the region, according to Reilly.
    There are few full time residents in lakefront neighborhoods, especially in the fall and winter, and many fires end up being reported from across the lake with no exact location.

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