The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, working with the Liberty County Fire Marshal’s Office, is hoping to identify human remains that were found in a burnt-out travel trailer on CR 6243 in Dayton.
The fire was reported to authorities in the early morning hours of Monday, July 26. Firefighters from HWY 321 VFD went to the scene and extinguished the blaze, which appeared to have been caused by extension cords that were running from an electrical box to the travel trailer.
“The landowner allowed this guy, who was a loner with no place to live, to stay in the travel trailer. He had about 1,000 feet of extension cords running from the electrical box to an air conditioning unit in the travel trailer. Some time in the night, the trailer caught on fire and the man succumbed to the smoke,” said Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller. “The firefighters put out the fire but did not see that a body was inside the trailer.”
The fire marshal believes the fire was started by a short in an electrical cord.
Hergemueller described the travel trailer as being “way back in the pasture,” which made it challenging for firefighters to reach.
“There was a gate that was closed and locked. The owner of the property wasn’t there when the fire happened,” he said.
The next morning, Hergemueller returned to the property and left his business card with a request for the property owner to call him. A short time later, the property owner reportedly called to say that someone had been staying in the travel trailer and he was concerned that the person had been inside when it caught fire.
“Sure enough, we found the man’s body inside,” the fire marshal said.
The charred remains were sent to Beaumont for an autopsy and DNA testing. At the time, the fire victim was a John Doe but authorities now have information that may lead to his identity. He was said to be a Hispanic man in his late 50s.
“We are doing DNA testing with DNA taken from a possible family member,” said Capt. Billy Knox, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.