A house fire just before midnight Wednesday caused the death of an Ames man, 64-year-old Donald Ray Guillory.
According to Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller, Guillory’s home at 2371 FM 160 North was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene. Guillory’s body was found just three feet from the front door.
“We think he was trying to get out but might have been disoriented,” Hergemueller said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the marshal’s office is looking into whether or not some of the equipment that was found in the house was to blame.
“He had a large amount of small gas equipment inside the house. We don’t know yet if that was the cause. We saw the house was being renovated or had been gutted because there was an excessive amount of stuff outside in the yard. We don’t know if he was using this home for a small engine repair shop and was living there as well, or if he stored these things in the home with him,” Hergemueller said. “It’s hard to say right now as we are still investigating.”
The fire also destroyed Guillory’s vehicle, which was parked in front of the home.
Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ronnie Davis conducted an inquest on the scene. Guillory’s body was then released to Wells Funeral Home in Liberty.
Responding agencies were ESD #2 (Hull-Daisetta), ESD #7 (Hardin), City of Liberty Fire Department, Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Allegiance EMS and the Liberty County Fire Marshal’s Office.
While the cause of the fire has not been determined, Hergemueller said cooler temperatures means there will be an increased fire risk over the next few months as people try to stay warm.
“We are reaching that time of year when people are struggling to stay warm at night,” he said. “Space heaters carry an increased risk for a house fire. When they are plugged into a wall, they are safer than being plugged into an extension cord.”