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Father of five dies after Longview scrap yard explosion

By Jimmy Alford jalford@news-journal.com
April 23, 2011 at 11 p.m.

A 36-year-old father of five who was severely burned in a Friday morning scrap yard explosion died at a Dallas hospital.

Casey S. Wallace died of injuries he suffered in the blast, which was so violent some neighbors thought it was an earthquake.

Wallace's family Saturday was still reeling from his death.

"I'm not doing too well with how he died. Dying from getting shot or drowning - anything but burning," said Bobbie Wallace, Wallace's grandmother. "He went quick - that and the good Lord is all that is carrying me through."

Wallace was pronounced dead Friday after arriving at Parkland Hospital's burn center in Dallas.

According to Longview Fire Marshal Johnny Zackary, the explosion occurred about 9 a.m. at Youngblood's Scrap & Metals. Investigators said the blast occurred when a torch Wallace was using got too close to a fuel tank.

"That caused an ignition which in turn caused an explosion and fireball," Zackary said.

Wallace had worked at Youngblood's only a few months, said Debra Stockstill of East Mountain, his mother.

"He was a hard worker," Stockstill said, sobbing. "He loved his kids, and he helped me in any way he could."

Wallace was raised in Union Grove, his grandmother said, and that's where he met his first wife.

"He lived with me most of his life and then he moved up there to Longview," Bobbie Wallace said. "He was a quiet and all-around good kid."

She said Wallace joined the military and served for three years. During a stint in Germany, he and his first wife had a baby, Meagan, who died of sudden infant death syndrome.

Losing the baby took its toll on Wallace, Bobbie Wallace said. He had "gone to pieces." Wallace had three children with his first wife before getting divorced, and 10 years ago Wallace met Crystal Capps of Longview. They had two children.

"She isn't doing very well," Stockstill said Saturday. "He had her on a pedestal and stuck by her no matter what, through thick and thin."

Wallace is survived by his five children: Matthew, 17; Zachary, 13; Kelsey, 10; Shallion, 6; and Corbin, 5 months.

"He was a good father and good man. He had his problems but so does everybody," Stockstill said. "He was loved by everybody. My granddaughter's Facebook has thousands of comments that say that."

He loved fishing, and he loved spending time with his family, his grandmother said, adding she was proud of him.

Zackary said Saturday the incident was still under investigation by local and federal authorities.

"It seems like it was an unforeseen event," Zackary said. "And with that kind of explosion, there was no time to escape."

Youngblood's owner Jay Youngblood could not be reached for comment Saturday afternoon.



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