Firefighters with the DC Fire & EMS Department found the body of a 37-year-old lobbyist inside a burning car partially in the garage of the woman’s Capitol Hill home. Ashley Westbrook Turton was director of congressional affairs for Progress Energy. Turton was married to Daniel Turton, the White House deputy director of legislative affairs for the U.S. House.
Pete Piringer, spokesman for DC Fire and EMS, says firefighters were called to the 800 block of A Street for a report of a fire inside a row house just before 5:00 Monday morning. Firefighters quickly arrived at the scene and found a car engulfed in flames inside the attached garage of a row house. Piringer says once fire crews brought the flames under control they found the body of an adult victim inside the vehicle.
Piringer says police and fire investigators are on the scene. According to Piringer, the leading theory is the car may have crashed into the garage and caught fire.
Ashley W. Turton, 37, an energy company lobbyist and former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), was found dead shortly before 5 a.m. in a burning BMW, the back end of which was partly out of the garage, as if the vehicle had been entering or leaving when the fire started, authorities said.
Authorities said her death appears to have resulted from a low-speed crash, an unknown medical condition, the fire, or some combination of the three. “We have no evidence of any obvious malfeasance in her death at this time,” said Capt. Michael Farish, of the D.C. police homicide unit. The department’s major crash unit is handling most of the investigation for the police department.
Most of the smoke and fire damage was contained to the garage, according to Piringer, who said an adult male and several children in the house were unharmed. He said no 911 call came from the house and it is possible that the man and children were unaware of what had happened until firefighters arrived.