Man dies in Vidalia house fire Monday

Published 12:29 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018


VIDALIA — A Vidalia man died in a house fire Monday morning.

Vidalia Fire Chief Johnny Evans said the cause of the fire is not yet known, and the body of the man will be sent to Concordia Funeral Home to determine the cause of death.

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Officials on the scene did not identify the name of the victim, pending notification of out-of-town family members.

The fire department was called to the scene at just after 10 a.m., where the Spruce Street, Vidalia, residence was engulfed in flames.

Evans said the owner of the home, the deceased’s mother, is currently in Chicago with her daughter because of an illness.

In his mother’s absence, the man had taken up residence on the front porch of the home, Evans said.  Firefighters found the man’s body in the bed he had set up on the screen porch.

It looked, Evans said, as though the man had never moved.

“We don’t know if smoke inhalation got to him first,” Evans said. “The autopsy will determine the cause of death.”

Concordia Parish Coroner Roger Calkins said he has not been able to determine the cause of death yet and the matter is still under investigation.

Evans said a neighbor who brought the man a cup of coffee early Monday morning was the last person to see him alive.

Charles Ferguson, who lives just down the street, said he did not see the fire begin, but he heard people reacting.

“I just heard someone hollering and saw the flames,” Ferguson said. “But it was too late. It’s just a shock to me.”

Firefighters drew up blue and green tarps around the little white house to obstruct the growing crowd’s view.

A little white cross hung in a window that had shattered from the heat of the flames.

The entire home was damaged by smoke, Evans said, though only approximately 50 percent of the home was touched by flames.

Tanyanika Yearby, a neighbor, said the deceased was a 60-year-old male.

“He used to come by my house and sit on my front porch,” she said. “I haven’t seen him in a few days.”