79-year-old East Texas man dies in house fire

By Samantha Jordan – bio| email
Posted by Elizabeth Thomas – email

JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) - An autopsy has been ordered on an elderly East Texas man, who died when his home caught fire.

79-year-old Roosevelt Brown died inside his  home on Debusk street Saturday night.

Everyday for the last three years Billy Shanks has been making trips to visit his uncle.

"I'd just come check on him, take him to the store, paid his bills I always helped him out everyday every morning," said Shanks, Brown's nephew.

Shanks says he spent most of Saturday with his uncle, so when he received a call about the fire later that night he couldn't believe it.

"When they told me and the family that they found a body in there, but they didn't know who it was I knew it was probably him so I left," said Shanks.

Jacksonville firefighters were called to the fire just before 7 o'clock Saturday, but the fire had already spread too much.

"When they arrived up there there were already flames coming out from everywhere it was fully engulfed," said Kevin McKinney, Jacksonville Fire Department.

Captain McKinney says it's probable that the fire had been going on for thirty to forty minutes before they were called. He says five minutes after arriving a family member quickly approached him.

"They said I think my brother is still in there and I said where would he be located. He said he's right here in this front room and that's where the fire started where he was and sure enough that's where we found him at," said McKinney.

Yet despite this tragic event, Shank says he appreciates all the time they had together.

"I'm just happy that I had time to spend with him and God blessed me with a car to come and check on him and take him where he needed to go," said Shank

Investigators say Roosevelt Brown had two space heaters inside the home, though it is unclear right now if they played any role in the fire.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.