Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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May 28, 2013

Victim of Friday fire tentatively identified — although cause of blaze remains undetermined

JACKSONVILLE — Cherokee County authorities tentatively have identified a 41-year-old man killed in a Friday night mobile home fire, although they continued DNA testing Tuesday to make absolutely sure.

The victim, believed to be Cedric LaPaul McCuin,  lived in the mobile home at Cherokee County's Adcock Trailer Park Complex just outside Jacksonville, reports show.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department is the investigating agency for this fire — the cause of which remained undetermined Tuesday.

Earle's Chapel Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ted Hunt estimated firefighters were on the scene for at least three hours.

The mobile home was completely destroyed by the fire, county officials said.

“The entire home was totaled and burned, although there was more damage to the west end of the house, where the kitchen was,” explained Cherokee County Sheriff's Department Capt. John Raffield of CID. “This makes sense, as he (the victim) told someone he was going home to get a bit to eat and take a nap before he went to work.”

Specifics on the victim's line of work were not immediately available Tuesday.

The county's fire investigator also continued to investigate the cause of the fire Tuesday, Capt. Raffield said. The blaze first was reported about 7:15 p.m. Friday, although the victim was not pronounced dead until closer to 9 p.m., the captain said.

The man believed to be McCuin was badly burned, which hindered identification. The preliminary autopsy shows he died of smoke inhalation, Raffield said.

“His mother and all of his family are pretty convinced it is him,” the captain said. “(The tentative ID) allows the family to get some kind of closure while we go ahead with our procedure.”

Jacksonville Fire Department representatives were also there to help fight the fire Friday night.

Jacksonville Fire Lt. Mike Terry and Fire Chief Paul White said those on the scene started searching for the victim fairly quickly.

“When it first started, about half the trailer was on fire and people were shouting, 'There's someone in there!' “ Chief White said. “One person went in with his air pack on and looked around but couldn't find anyone before the fire chased him out. … They didn't find the body until later.”

 

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