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."

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 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

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos