Authorities identified the victim as Henry Bruce Greer, 61, of Temple. Greer was severely burned as the single-wide mobile home he occupied with his son at 472 McGukin Road was totally destroyed by fire. His son, a 14-year-old boy whose name was not released, remained hospitalized at Grady in serious condition Wednesday.
Greer and his son were the only occupants of the trailer.
Carroll County Fire Chief Tracy Smith called the death a tragedy – made worse by the season.
“I always hate to see something like this, but at this time of year, it’s especially hard to deal with,” Smith said. “No matter how long you do this, it never gets any easier.”
Smith said investigators still don’t know what caused the fire and what events followed that led to Greer’s fatal injuries.
Investigators went through the rubble of the burned out mobile home into the early morning hours and were on the scene virtually all day Wednesday.
The kitchen area of the trailer received the heaviest damage, even though the entire front and back walls of the structure were gone Wednesday. The area around the front door was also totally destroyed, possibly an indication that getting out of the mobile home would have been difficult.
Officials actually rushed to Grady once the fire was out Tuesday in hopes of talking with the victim. The injuries were so severe that no information could be obtained. Smith said they visited with the 14-year-old and family that had gathered at the hospital, which has one of the South’s top burn units.
Officials said one reason that mobile home fires are particularly volatile is the metal rook and shell. In houses where roofing material is mostly wood, flames will break through the roof and vent, allowing some of the heat to escape. In a trailer, the metal holds the flames in for an extended period, scorching and melting much of what is inside before the flames break through.
So Tuesday night even though the call came to 911 at about 7 p.m. and crews quickly got to the scene, which was about three miles off Highway 113 and Old Center Point Road, the blaze had already done most of its damage.
Smith said local fire investigators were joined by the state fire marshal’s office Wednesday, working together to determine the fire’s cause.