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Woman dies after fire
Victim hospitalized since April 2
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Forsyth County News
A south Forsyth woman hospitalized after a suspicious blaze at her home in the Chattahoochee River Club last week has died.

Forsyth County firefighters pulled Jill Vannini out of her house on Woodbury Creek drive on the morning of April 2. Though she did not appear to be burned, fire officials said Vannini likely suffered from smoke inhalation.

She was immediately taken to Northside Hospital-Forsyth where she was listed in critical condition.

Fire Capt. Jason Shivers confirmed that Vannini died Tuesday night at the hospital. An official cause of death has not been released.

Shivers said the fire remains under investigation.

“It’s still considered suspicious and is under investigation in a cooperative manner with the insurance company,” Shivers said, adding that the company has assigned an investigator of its own to the case.

Shivers said he could not release details of the probe, citing the ongoing investigation.

The blaze appears to have started in the garage where Vannini’s vehicle was still parked Friday when firefighters arrived.

She was the only person in the three-story house, which was 20 to 25 percent burned and had heavy smoke damage.

Vannini’s neighbor, David Sewell, said his son-in-law saw the flames and they called 911. Sewell said one of Vannini’s dogs was taken to a neighbor’s house. Another dog was removed from her back porch by Forsyth County Sheriff’s animal control officers.

Shivers said some of Vannini’s family members arrived earlier this week from California.

In an unrelated incident, the fire department, sheriff’s office and Georgia Forestry Commission responded Saturday to a blaze in west Forsyth that burned through about six wooded acres off Johnson Road, destroying one home and threatening eight others.

The body of  64-year-old Joe Michael Fowler was found behind the destroyed house.

Shivers said investigators do not suspect the blaze or Fowler’s death to be suspicious, adding that Fowler had been burning brush before the fire got out of control.

He said an autopsy was conducted at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab but an official cause of death will be released pending toxicology results.

According to his obituary, Fowler was originally from Iowa and had been a longtime member of Saint Brendan’s Catholic Church. He worked as an electrician at Parker Young Construction in Norcross.

Fowler was survived by his brothers, James Fowler of Wyoming and Jerry Fowler of Wisconsin; and sisters, Janice Peterson of California, Jean Bodensteiner of Iowa and June Mackey of Indiana. He is preceded in death by his parents, John Leroy and Ruth Annabel Ernst Fowler; brother, Jon Fowler; and sisters, Joyce Walsh and Julie Fowler.

He was scheduled to be cremated Thursday.