By Holley Nees - email
ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A Tuesday morning fire on Twin Oaks Road has claimed the life of a Lufkin man.
The fire, which started around 7:15 a.m., also destroyed the mobile home.
"I run into the house and stuff and smoke just overwhelmed me," said Neighbor Michael Bishop. "I just couldn't do it, so I came out. I just started spraying water and stuff on the house."
His singed hair, burned face, and charred jacket are what's left of his attempt to save 67-year-old Philip Michael Cooper.
"It was mega-hot," said Bishop. "It was really hot and there were flames shooting across the ceiling and smoke everywhere."
He said instinct made him run inside.
"You try to do what you can do for your fellow man," said Bishop. "It's the human thing to do."
The Angelina County Sheriff's Office identified the victim as Philip Cook. Justice of the Peace Billy Ball said he was called to the residence around 8:30 a.m. to pronounce him dead.
"Any time you're dealing with a death of any kind, it's not a pleasant experience and it is the downside of this particular job," said Ball.
Firefighters from Moffett, Rivercrest and Fuller Springs volunteer fire departments were still working on putting out the fire around 9:30 a.m.
Road conditions, the location, and a lack of volunteer firefighters made it difficult for help to arrive at the Enkema Road home near Twin Oaks Road.
"When I called 911, I had to tell them how to get out here, because I guess it's not on the map," said neighbor Sherilyn Ryan.
"Being the first one on the scene, is kind of hard," said Moffett Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Edward Sweet. "The manpower in the county is kind of bad, we need help bad."
Moffett volunteer firefighters were the first to arrive on scene, but Sweet said they needed help so neighbors started pitching in and sheriff's deputies helped man the hoses.
"I knew we weren't going to be able to save anyone in the home," said Sweet. "It was just totally involved when I got here. The second structure was my main concern then."
An investigator with the state fire marshal's office is now trying to determine what caused the fire -- a tough assignment.
"No, you never get used to it, you know the job that you have to do and the steps and procedures you have to take and focus on your job and try not to think about actually what's happened," said Kyle Morris with the state fire marshal's office.
Now, the smoldering house sits as a reminder of the risk Bishop took to try and save his neighbor.
More volunteer firefighters across Angelina County are needed. If you're interested, contact your local fire department.
Lt. Pete Cooper at the Angelina County Sheriff's Office said an exact cause of the fire was not yet known, but no foul play is suspected.