Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office releases name of man killed in Melrose fire

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - There are more details on a fatal fire in Nacogdoches County.

The sheriff's office has identified the man killed as 77- year- old Caroll Eugene Bates.

It happened in the Melrose community on County Road 419.

Dispatch received a phone call Tuesday morning from a neighbor saying that Bates' mobile home appeared to be engulfed in flames.

"I mean it was huge and hot," said neighbor Carissa Evans. "You could feel it."

A little after 3 a.m., Evans stepped outside because her daughter always leaves the porch light on, but this time that wasn't the case. 
"So I went to get up and go turn it off and it wasn't on," Evans said. "I looked out the back window, and his whole house was engulfed in flames."

Evans then gathered her family and called the fire department.

A few minutes later, the Nacogdoches Fire Department and surrounding volunteer departments were dispatched to the scene, but it was too late.

"The fire was already engulfed when they arrived, so it destroyed the home," said Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges. "Once the fire was put out a search was conducted and a body was found inside the house of a 77 year old male."

This isn't the first time Bates experienced a fire in his home.

"It was a need that needed to be fixed, and it was more than just one. It was open with bare wires and how they were run and things like that," Bridges said.

Evans said she is still recovering from what happened Tuesday morning.

"I witnessed it all. That's my first encounter. It was horrifying," Evans said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Bridges said it is believed the fire started due to electrical issues at the home.

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