Fire claims family of three

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2002

A fire claimed the lives of three people in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

According to Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman Jr., Cecil Edwards, his wife Patricia Edwards, and their son Cecil Edwards, Jr., all of Tyler, died in the fire that destroyed their home at 4731 County Road 74.

One eyewitness to the blaze, a family member of Edwards who requested not to be named, said that the fire was already in full force by about 3:30 a.m.

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“It was just a big flame and everything was already burnt up,” she said.

Another family member added that they were still waiting to hear from the authorities about the cause of the fire.

Huffman said that the cause of the fire was currently under investigation.

According to the state fire marshal’s office, the Edwards family was not using the liquefied petroleum gas system at the home and the gas tank had been disconnected.

The fire marshal’s office also said that investigators believed the fire resulted from either an electrical space heater or electrical problem.

Another eyewitness to the fire, Joe Hall, of Tyler, said that by 4 a.m. the Edward’s mobile home was lit up. Smoke was coming out of the back of the home, Hall said, and the front was on fire.

Huffman said that 911 received the call at 3:30 a.m., and that the first unit reached the home about 5 to 10 minutes later.

Huffman added that the Tyler volunteer fire department responded to the call.

Huffman said that when officials reached the site the home was completely on fire. They also knew that there might be people trapped inside.

After the fire was put out, Huffman continued, the bodies of Edwards, his wife and son were found and recovered. They were brought to a local funeral home, he added.

Huffman said that he was notified of the fire at about 5:15 a.m. and reached the site at 6:45. When he arrived, he said, members of the fire department along with police deputies were removing the roof from the home.

Huffman added that the home had burned to the ground and hooks were used to pull the roof away from the frame of the home.

“You could recognize appliances if you knew what you were looking for,” Huffman said about the state of the home. Otherwise, he said, it was unrecognizable.

Huffman said that the roof had to be removed so the bodies could be recovered and remaining hot spots be dealt with. Two bodies were found in the kitchen, he said, and one in the bedroom.

Because the community is sparsely populated, Huffman said, no other buildings were damaged by the fire.