Coroner identifies victim in Washington Street fire

A late afternoon house fire in the 100 block of Washington Street on Thursday resulted in authorities finding the body of a deceased male. (Photo by STEVE ROGERS, DTL)
By: 
DTL STAFF

A late afternoon house fire in the 100 block of Washington Street on Thursday resulted in authorities finding the body of a deceased male.

Clay County Coroner Alvin Carter identified the victim as 62-year-old William Brownlee, Sr., and said more details would be provided as the investigation moves forward.

Carter said the call came in a little after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon with first responders finding Brownlee's body in one of the bedrooms of the house.

West Point Fire Chief Ken Wilbourne told the Daily Times Leader when the WPFD arrived on scene, the back of the house was fully engulfed in flames.

Firefighters broke through one of the windows and then found the deceased man.

"The kids were playing in the yard and they came running in and said 'Mr. Brownlee's house is on fire,'" the neighbors -- the Walkers -- said of their experience. "We looked out and the smoke and flames were pouring out of that last window and we called 9-1-1. I messaged his son on Facebook and I knew somebody who knew him and got his number and called him. He was out in Una and didn't know anything about it. He said, 'Get over there if you can, my daddy's inside.' We tried to go in but there was too much smoke pouring out from all over. It was just surrounded in smoke. We thought his wife might be in there, too , but she got here after about 10 minutes."

The cause of the fire has not been released.

“It was a brand new house, less than a year old,” Wilbourne said. “The fire marshal is coming in the morning when we have better lighting and we’ll see what we can find.”

Carter said the body will be sent to Pearl for an autopsy.

The Clay County Coroner’s Office, West Point Police Department and State Fire Marshal are still investigating the incident.

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