Woman, mother die in Huntington-area house fire

Photo by Jena Johnson.
Photo by Jena Johnson.

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - A 60-year-old woman and her 81-year-old mother were killed Wednesday morning from a fire in a house in which they lived on county road 1475 near Huntington.

According to Huntington Police Chief Steven Sifford, the home caught fire around 6:15 a.m. It started in the front bedroom and possibly due to heating or wiring.

The mother's name was Mary Jane Huffman and the daughter's was Mary Melissa Huffman.

Mary Melissa Huffman's common-law husband, Clinton McClendon, said he had been in a relationship with his wife for 13 years. As McClendon pulled out a plastic bag filled with his belongings from his pocket, he said he had just gotten out of jail on a burglary of a vehicle charge.

"They were good people," McClendon said. "They never left their house. They always stayed at home. I was the one leaving and doing things I shouldn't, but they didn't."

Huntington Volunteer Fire Chief Jerry LaSalle said the two died from smoke inhalation.

"I went to crying I don't know what to do," McClendon said. "It just upset me real bad. I'm still upset, but I'm trying to just hold up because that's all I can do now."

Sifford said it is believed a dog knocked over a space heater, sparking the fire. The dog also died.

The home is located about an eighth of a mile from U.S. highway 69.

With no photographs, McClendon says he will rely on the memory of those he loved, to carry him through this tragedy.

"I guess I'll just start over," McClendon said. "I don't know what I'm going to do."

McClendon is now staying with his brother in Corrigan. Donations for him may be dropped off at Huntington City Hall.