Official: Woman killed in Gregg County fire had been burning trash outside
Feb. 5, 2018 at 3:06 p.m.
Updated Feb. 6, 2018 at 6:55 a.m.
Syble Alexander died in the Friday afternoon grass fire in the 900 block of Maxey Road, Gregg County Fire Marshal Mark Moore said at a press conference Monday afternoon. The fire has been ruled accidental.
Moore said Alexander had been burning refuse outside the residence when the fire got out of control. One of her neighbors saw smoke and called 911. Longview Fire Department and Judson Metro Volunteer Fire Department crews responded to the blaze at 4:22 p.m. to find a grass fire and a travel trailer consumed by fire.
Two lawn mowers and a golf cart also burned, Moore said, producing smoke that could be seen from miles away.
Alexander was found outside the house, where investigators believe she had been trying to suppress the blaze.
“In my 35 years in this business, most people succumb to smoke inhalation,” Moore said. “I see very few that die from actual exposure to the fire.”
Alexander was formerly secretary to Gregg County Judge Henry Atkinson, Moore said. Atkinson was judge from 1967 to 1990.
Though Gregg County is not under an official burn ban, Moore cautioned residents to avoid outdoor burning due to increasingly dry conditions in the area.
“I stress during this time that everyone is very vigilant in any type of outdoor burning or outdoor activities where fire is involved,” Moore said. “It can become a very extreme fire before you know it.”
He said Alexander’s son lives at the residence with her, but he was not at home when the fire started.
It is the first fatal fire the county fire marshal has responded to this year.
In 2016, the county saw three fires turn deadly:
- Feb. 25, 2016: One person died in a fire at a group of mobile homes near FM 2087 and Interstate 20.
- June 14, 2016: A 3-year-old boy died in a house fire in the 600 block of Victorian Oak between Lakeport and Easton.
- Dec. 9, 2016: A 58-year-old woman died in an accidental house fire in the 900 block of Rabbit Creek Drive in Kilgore.
Gregg Co. Fire Marshal's press conference on Maxey Rd fire
Posted by Longview News-Journal on Monday, February 5, 2018