Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

January 2, 2013

Cherokee County home explosion kills two

State fire investigator called in to helped determine cause

CHEROKEE COUNTY — Two people believed to be a local married couple were killed Sunday morning during a house explosion along County Road 4706, south of Troup, authorities said.

The cause of the 11:30 a.m. explosion at the home in the 1100 block of County Road 4706 remained under investigation Monday.  Fire departments from North Cherokee County, Troup, Arp and Bullard were called to the scene to fight the fire Sunday.

Authorities do not currently believe the explosion to be the result of foul play. But an investigator from the office of State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy has been called in to determine exactly what happened.

Meanwhile, the deceased couple, tentatively identified as  Jerry Lynn Vessels, 68, and Madeleine Otis Vessels, 66, have been sent for autopsy to a forensic medical management service by Justice of Peace Philip Grimes of Cherokee County's Precinct 3.

Jerry Vessels' brother was the first person to arrive on the scene after the explosion, Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell said Monday.

"The brother lives a short distance away," Campbell explained. "After he heard the explosion, he took his four-wheeler to the top of the hill to find the house fully involved in flames – fire coming out the top and bottom. Parts of the house had been blown away. The second floor collapsed down on the first floor. The bottom walls were all that were still standing."

The scene of the explosion remained cordoned off by crime scene tape Monday as the state fire investigator continued to investigate. While it is not yet clear what that cause is, the sheriff noted that Vessels did keep propane in the home.

"But we're not saying that is what caused the explosion because we don't know what happened at this time," Campbell said Monday.

The couple's two grown children quickly traveled to Troup after being told of the explosion. The representative from the state fire marshal's office arrived Sunday evening to start the investigation, returning on Monday morning to continue, authorities said.

"This may take days or weeks or we could find out what happened right before the investigator leaves," the sheriff said. "We don't suspect foul play at all but we certainly want to find out what happened."

Text Only
Local News
  • Cuney Council cancels meeting, again

    Tuesday's Cuney City Council meeting – in which local alderman were to vote on canceling a May 10 election due to unopposed status of candidates – was canceled because of a lack of quorum, according to City Secretary Brenda Lankford.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sen. Nichols speaking.tif Senator Nichols speaks to Jacksonville Leadership Institute

    State Senator Robert Nichols (R) spoke to the Jacksonville Leadership Institute Tuesday regarding the role of government in Texas.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jacob.tif Local boy recovering from campfire accident in Dallas hospital

    Jacob Sessions of Jacksonville was burned on 71 percent of his body on April 5 from a campfire accident. He is currently in Parkland ICU due to his injuries, according to a representative for the family.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • THOMPSON, CEDRICK.tif Cherokee County woman found dead

    At approximately 9:35 a.m. Sunday,  Kayla Nicole Thompson, 27, was found deceased in the driveway of her residence, located in the 1500 block of County Road 3201,  just West of Lake Jacksonville.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • BullardFUNRUN.tif Bullard Education Foundation sets record with event

    The Bullard Education Foundation hosted its 4th annual 5K /Fun Run, “Strides for Excellence” on Saturday morning, April 19.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fire destroys Sims Avenue residence

    Jacksonville Fire Department responded to a fire in the 900 block of Sims Avenue early Saturday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Community library on council agenda

    The Bullard City Council will met at 6 p.m. today at Bullard First Baptist Church, 1428 S. Houston, for the regular board meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • Council to mull election, roads

    The Cuney City Council will meet at 10 a.m. today at the Cuney Municipal Building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014