Couple perish in blaze
A Cherokee County couple is believed to be dead after a late Sunday morning house fire near Troup.
Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell said the fire happened in the 1100 block of County Road 4706 at about 11:30 a.m.
Campbell said two bodies believed to be Jerry Vessels, 68, and his wife Madeline, 66, were recovered from the ashes, but they have been sent to Forensic Medical Management Services in Tyler for positive identification and an autopsy.
He said the fire was reported by the homeowner's brother, who reported hearing a loud explosion coming from the home. Campbell said the man rode his four-wheeler to his brother's house and saw the two-story log cabin in flames.
Troup Fire Chief Tim Meager said the home was too fiery for firefighters to enter and safely execute a rescue attempt. He said it took Troup, Arp, North Cherokee and Bullard volunteer fire departments between two and three hours to extinguish the blaze, but the home burned to the ground.
Campbell said the state fire investigator has been called to determine the cause of the fire as a precaution. He said the home had propane service, and glass inside the home appears to have shattered 50 to 100 feet in several directions.
He said foul play was not suspected but needed to be ruled out.
"Mr. and Mrs. Vessels were well thought of in the community," Campbell said.