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Smith County officials release name of man who died in fire

Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 12:22 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Smith County officials have identified the 35-year-old man who died in a house fire on Wednesday night.

Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks said Jack McKenzie Ross passed away after resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of Mr. Ross,” Brooks said. “This is a tragic event, which has left a huge hole in his family.”

The Smith County Fire Marshal’s office resumed their investigation this morning. Fire Marshal Jay Brooks said the cause is still undetermined. Crews had to stop last night due to the amount of heat in the home.

“We’ve been able to isolate that the fire began in one of the bedrooms. It was not the bedroom that the deceased person was in, it was an adjacent bedroom,” Brooks said. “What we’re out here today (doing) is to continue that investigation.”

Last night we received information that kids could have been in the home.

“What we’ve since learned is that the woman that called 911 was the mother of the decedent. She was screaming, “My baby, my baby.” She was obviously distraught,” Brooks said. “I mean this is an unfathomable incident when you’ve got a mother with a son that’s trapped inside of a burning house.”

Today Oncor was also on scene working to repair power. During the fire fighting efforts Brooks says a power line fell on a group of firefighters and had to be turned off.

“One of the firefighters did suffer an injury. He was transported to the hospital, he was evaluated overnight, and my understanding is that he is being released and he is going to be okay,” he said.

Brooks said when crews got to the scene about 75 percent of the house was fully involved.

The room that the deceased was in was not fully involved which is why rescue attempts were possible.

“Everybody is someone’s child and so it just reminds us that all life is precious and this is an absolutely just heartbreaking event,” he said.

The investigation will continue. Brooks says Ross may have had mobility struggles so they are looking into that as well.

Brooks said at this time they have not been able to confirm if there were working smoke detectors in the home. He stresses the importance of making sure you have one. If you need one you can reach out to the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office.

Smith County fire officials are still trying to determine the cause of a fire in the Noonday community that claimed the life of a 33-year-old special needs man Wednesday night.

According to Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks, the mother of the man who died called 911 from another house on the property. Because the woman was yelling, “My baby! My baby!” people believed children might be in the home.

Brooks said, as it turned out, there were no children inside the home, age-wise.

Two men were inside the home when the fire started. The 35-year-old man died inside, Brooks said.

The fire started in the bedroom next to the room where the 35-year-old man was found, Brook said. Seventy-five percent of the house was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters got to the scene, and they tried to rescue the man because the space he was in was not fully involved.

Firefighters pulled the 35-year-old man out of the house, but efforts to resuscitate him failed.

Brooks said Wednesday night that the children and everyone else from inside the house are safe.

Pct. 2. Justice of the Peace Andy Dunklin pronounced the man dead at the scene.

Brooks said Wednesday night that they are in “deep prayer” for the family because they are heavily grieving the loss of the man who died. He said the young man was known as “caring and as loving as can be,” and that the loss is catastrophic for the close family.

While the fire crews were battling the fire, a firefighter with Smith County Emergency Services District 2 was shocked by a power line that fell off the house. Wednesday night, Brooks said the firefighter was OK, but he was taken to be checked out as a precaution.

Crews from the Noon Day, Red Springs, Dixie, and Chapel Hill fire departments responded to the scene.

Brooks said they are still trying to determine the cause of the fire. He added they had to cease operations Wednesday night because the fire was too hot.

Investigators were back at the scene of the fire Thursday morning.

Brooks said the firefighter who was injured is going to be OK and will be released from the hospital later today.

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