A 71-year-old disabled veteran was found dead after fire swept through his home in Barrow County on Monday morning, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Fire crews arriving at the home in the 300 block of Lokeys Ridge Road around 5 a.m. tried to enter an upstairs window to search for victims, but the fire was too strong, Barrow fire Capt. Scott Dakin said.
The victim was discovered once the flames were under control. He was identified by his grandson as Duane Downey, a disabled Vietnam veteran, Channel 2 reported.
“This is a horrible way to go out, and I would hate for anyone to suffer through that,” Derrick Bozeman, his grandson, told the news station. “All we can do now is pick up the pieces and celebrate who he was.”
Dakin said the fire started in the kitchen area and spread to a second floor. Investigators found the stove was on when the fire broke out, but they have not made a final determination on cause, he said.
When Downey’s body was removed from the home, firefighters covered it with an American flag, Channel 2 reported.
Bozeman said Downey spent four years in Vietnam and had moved to Georgia about a year ago. He lived in the home by himself.
“He made it through a couple of deployments,” Bozeman said. “He was hit by a rocket and shot seven times, so he made it through a lot to make it home.”
Fire officials are waiting for insurance representatives to take a look before continuing their investigation.
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