Gregg Co. fire marshal details fire that took life of 95-year-old woman

Gregg Co. fire marshal details fire that took life of 95-year-old woman
Syble Alexander (Source:

LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - A fire has claimed the life of a Gregg County woman. It happened Friday afternoon in the 900 block of Maxey Road. The Gregg County Fire Marshal held a press conference about the fatal fire that took the life of 95-year-old Syble Gertrude Alexander.

Judson Metro, West Harrison County and Longview Fire departments responded to a report of a fire north west of Longview. Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore was on the scene Friday.

"The cause of the fire has been ruled accidental," Moore said.

The victim was doing a small outside burn.

"She was disposing of household and yard waste," Moore clarified.

Moore says due to wind, the fire may have gotten out of control.

"And from our investigation we were able to determine that at some point she was probably trying to suppress the fire," Moore stated.

He said all fires are tragic but:

"When a human life is lost, it's even more tragic," Moore added.

Syble Alexander was known by Gregg County employees who had worked for the county awhile.

"Ms. Alexander was a former employee of Gregg County. She served as the county judge's secretary for many years," Moore stated.

She was Judge Henry Atkinson's secretary back in the '80's.

Moore says most fire victims he has dealt with over the years are not taken by the fire itself.

"In my 35 years in this business most people succumb to smoke inhalation. I see very few that die from the actual exposure to fire. I've been a firefighter for a long time. When you're exposed to fire like that, it can't be a good way," Moore revealed.

A travel trailer, two lawnmowers and a golf cart also burned, putting off smoke that could be seen for miles.

"The response from Longview Fire and Judson Metro, they were able to contain the fire in less than a half acre," Moore said.

There was also an investigator from ATF on scene acting as a second set of eyes who concurred with Moore.

"This is an unfortunate accident," Moore added.

Although there is no burn ban in Gregg County right now, the fire marshal says to use extreme caution if burning and advises to put it off until conditions are safer for an outdoor burn.

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