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Sheriff: Hickman County Fire Deaths Suspicious

Sheriff: Hickman County Fire Deaths Suspicious

CREATED Feb 3, 2014

CENTERVILLE, Tenn. - Authorities said the cause of a house fire that killed an elderly Hickman County couple is being considered suspicious and the case is being treated as possibly two homicides.

Officials said the fire likely broke out between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. Friday at a home on Dodd Hollow Road in the Nunnelly community. A deputy from another county was driving home from his shift when he spotted the burning home.

The two bodies found inside the home after the fire was extinguished were believed to be the residents 88-year-old R.T. Rivers, a retired Church of Christ minister, and his wife, 86-year-old Ruby Rivers. The couple was well known in the community that is now raising questions about who could've wanted to hurt them.

Hickman County Sheriff Randal Ward said he was not at liberty to say what evidence investigators had found that made them consider the fire suspicious.

"The dogs alerted (us about) some situations that…was inside the house that we felt like we needed to look into it further," said Ward. 

He said the fire broke out near the couple's bedroom Friday, and evidence showed they died trying to get out.

Investigators returned to what was left of the home Saturday to sift through the debris and conduct interviews. They continue to look for clues that may give them a better perspective on what happened.

The couple's home was located in the Nunnelly community, about 15 minutes north of Centerville.

Ward said the roaring blaze exploded cars in the garage and burned the house to the ground.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)