Weatherford Democrat

March 10, 2013

Man dies in mobile home fire

Weatherford Democrat

— Man dies in mobile home fire


PARKER COUNTY - A mobile home fire north of Weatherford Friday morning claimed the life of a 50-year-old Parker County man who was apparently unable to escape.

John “Jay” Alan Montgomery was found dead in the bedroom of his residence in the 3600 block of Oak Circle in Crazy Horse Ranchos, according to authorities.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death an accident due to smoke inhalation during the house fire.

David Cordell said he’s known Montgomery for 25 years and, for the past nine months, had been letting Montgomery stay in a mobile home Cordell used for storage.

Cordell’s stepson reportedly noticed the house was in flames around 6 a.m. and alerted Cordell, who called 911.

His stepson kicked in the front door open to let Montgomery’s dogs out and yelled for Montgomery but did not get an answer, Cordell said, adding that it was too hot for his stepson to enter, Cordell said.

Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott said firefighters were dispatched at 6:15 a.m. to a call reporting the fire and possible entrapment.

Weatherford Fire Department arrived on scene 16 minutes later, with Peaster Volunteer Fire Department following four minutes behind. Cool-Garner, Central and Greenwood departments also responded.

The house was reported to be two-thirds involved upon arrival and the fire was too progressed for firefighters to make a rescue attempt, Scott said.

The fire was reported to be under control by 7:14 a.m., according to dispatch records.

Montgomery’s body was later found on the floor in the master bedroom.

“It appears he was trying to get out,” Scott said, adding that the fire appeared to be between him and the doorway.

Corrugated metal placed around the single-wide mobile home made the fire attack by firefighters difficult, as well as making it harder for the resident to escape as all doorways but one were covered up, according to Scott.

There were no smoke detectors in the home and he believes the delay in the detection of the fire likely contributed to the man’s death, he said.

There were many plausible explanations for the fire, which originated in the living room, according to Scott.

There was no electricity to the home and the resident was borrowing electricity from a neighbor via extension cord, Scott said, adding that candles were the primary source of light for the home.

They also located propane and small gas grill cylinders in and near the house, he added.

Montgomery was also known to sit while drinking and smoking, according to Scott.

“Nothing about the fire seems suspicious,” Scott said. “It appears to be a tragic accident at this point.”

“I’m still in shock,” Montgomery’s sister, Janice Hunsucker said. “It’s such a tragedy.”

“He had a heart as big as Dallas,” Hunsucker said. “He’s just a simple man with simple needs.”

Montgomery was engaged to be married and, though he did not have children, two family members from a previous marriage called him “Dad,” Hunsucker said. Montgomery, who had lived in the Weatherford area since high school, also left behind a brother.

His dogs and playing his guitar were his two loves, those close to him said.

Montgomery was an animal lover, Cordell said, adding that his dogs were like his kids and he’d feed them before he’d feed himself.

A couple of the dogs perished in the fire.

Cordell said Montgomery trimmed trees and did other jobs for a living.

“He was a real nice guy,” Cordell said, adding that if someone asked him to do something, he’d break his back doing it for them.

Montgomery helped him out with things like landscaping that he could not do because of his health, according to Cordell.

“He will be missed by all his family and friends,” Hunsucker said.