Tragedy struck Macon County over the holidays, when three people died in a Boyd Road mobile home fire on Friday morning, December 30.
The victims have been identified as brothers, Jimmy and Ronald Ray, and their mother, Wanda Ray.
According to Willette Fire Department Chief Danny Dozier, at 8:25 a.m. Friday morning, his squad was dispatched to a 10-72 structure fire at 131 Boyd Road, with possible occupants still inside.
Other emergency agencies and law enforcement also responded, and officers from the Macon County Sheriffs Department were the first to arrive at the scene, just off the Union Camp Road.
“There was a large amount of smoke in the mobile home, but my deputies were able to pull the three victims out of the residence, before firefighters were able to get there,” said Sheriff Mark Gammons, who also responded to the fire site.
“Unfortunately they appeared to be deceased, which was later confirmed by the medical examiner,” said the sheriff. “They apparently died of smoke inhalation.”
Willette Chief Danny Dozier said, “When our firefighters arrived there was smoke coming out of a window in the front of the mobile home, which was where the bathroom was located. Deputies had already pulled three victims out, however it was reported to us that another individual might still be inside.”
“Firefighters entered the smoke filled home through the front door and did a left hand search going in and a right hand search coming out,” explained the chief. “The fire was in the bathroom, which we were able to extinguish, and thankfully no one else was inside the residence.”
The Lafayette Fire Department answered a mutual aid call and sent an engine and man power.
Sheriff Mark Gammons told the Macon County Chronicle that he called the State Fire Marshal’s Office and turned the investigation over to them. The fire investigators then contacted the TBI.
District Attorney General Tommy Thompson said on Saturday afternoon, that there is a new procedure where fires are involved, that fire investigators can call the TBI anytime there is a death in a fire without going through his office. “It is my understanding that this fire was determined as accidental,” said General Thompson, “and there was no evidence of foul play.”
“The fire investigators found two smoke alarms wired into the home, but there was so much heat they couldn’t tell if they worked or not,” said Chief Dozier. “If you don’t have a smoke alarm, contact me at 615-388-5724, Red Boiling Springs Fire Department at 615-699-2011, or Lafayette Fire Department at 615-666-2190, and we will try to get you a working alarm.”
The Willette Volunteer Fire Department had seven fireman at the fire site and fireman Marty Wright was in charge of the scene.
Sheriff Gammons added, “I would like to commend my officers for going into the home and pulling the victims out, in an attempt to save their lives.”
Responders were the Willette Volunteer Fire Department, Lafayette Fire Department, Macon County Sheriffs Department, Macon County EMS, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.