2 die in Sunset blaze

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, February 22, 2014

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Two people were killed in a two-structure fire in Sunset early Thursday morning.

Investigators recovered the bodies of a male and a female from the debris of a travel trailer that burned in the 400 block of County Road 1695.

Fatal Fire

FATAL FIRE – A fire that started in a travel trailer spread to a mobile home less than 5 feet away in Sunset early Thursday morning. The two occupants of the travel trailer died in the blaze. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Their remains have been sent to the Dallas County Medical Examiner and had not been identified as of Friday afternoon.

Officials also awaited the results of an autopsy and toxicology report to determine the cause of death.

Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials believe it started in the 18-foot travel trailer where the bodies were found and spread to a single-wide mobile home parked 4-1/2 feet in front of it.

Wise County Fire Marshal Chuck Beard said the female who died is believed to be the caretaker of Jerry Haire, who lived in the mobile home and, with the help of neighbors, escaped without injury. The female lived in the travel trailer, and the male who died is believed to be a friend of hers.

Haire, who is wheelchair-bound, suffered from “a little bit of smoke inhalation” but did not require medical attention.

Quick Response

QUICK RESPONSE – Fire departments from Alvord, Chico, Sunset and Decatur responded to an early morning blaze Thursday in Sunset. Although both the travel trailer and mobile home involved were total losses, many of the mobile home’s contents were salvaged. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Tracey and Chris Hofsiss said they woke up to the incessant barking of their Rottweiler, Goliath.

“We looked out the window and saw flames,” Chris said.

“We called 911 and drove down to the house, honked our horn and banged on the door to wake him up,” Tracey said.

The couple was able to then help Haire out of his house.

“If it weren’t for the dog, who knows how this would have ended,” Chris said. “That’s why we have him out there, for protection.”

Departments from Alvord, Chico, Sunset and Decatur, as well as Wise County EMS and sheriff’s deputies responded to the blaze, which was reported at 12:49 a.m.

The first units on scene reported a travel trailer fully engulfed and flames through the back part of a single-wide mobile home.

Although the mobile home will likely be deemed a total loss, Beard said many items inside are salvageable.

“The Alvord Fire Department and all the other departments that responded really did a good job putting the fire out and saving what they did,” Beard said. “Thanks to their quick action and hard work, the gentleman will be able to recover quite a bit of his belongings.”


Shortly after clearing the Sunset fire, Chico Fire Department, along with units from Crafton and Sand Flat, were dispatched to a structure fire in the 100 block of County Road 1876.

A 40×20 detached garage that contained two Harley Davidson motorcycles and a classic pickup burned.

Investigators believe an electrical short is to blame for the fire, which was toned out just after 4 a.m. Thursday.

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