ST. JOSEPH, Mo. – A fire destroyed a mobile home, killing a 600-pound, homebound man who could not be moved out in time despite the efforts of neighbors and firefighters.
Timothy Lee Morris, 45, called 911 from his home when it caught fire Saturday afternoon, fire officials said. His daughters, ages 8 and 13, summoned neighbors, pleading for them to help free their father.
"He was in the front room. We tried and tried to yank him out," said neighbor Clinton Turner. "He kept saying, 'Help,' but we couldn't get him out."
Another neighbor, Amanda Brueck, said she stood outside with the two girls until the blaze — which "`shot out the windows and reached the trees" — forced them to back away. The girls' mother was away at the time.
Authorities said police and firefighters eventually were able to put Morris on a backboard and slide him out the front door. Morris suffered from several health problems, including breathing complications.
"Timmy probably didn't get burned at all," Battalion Chief John Nelson said. "He probably died from smoke inhalation."
Two firefighters were treated at a hospital for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. They were "very emotionally distraught they couldn't get him out," Nelson said. The fire was blamed on an electrical short.
John Starr, a maintenance worker for the mobile home park, said he often stopped by to see Morris.
"He was a good ol' boy," Starr said. "Every time we were in there, he was always giving us things."