A 60-year-old DeSoto County man died early Monday from injuries he received in a Sunday house fire on Bright Road in rural DeSoto County, according to DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders. His wife was taken off life support late Monday and died early Tuesday morning, according to officials at Regional One Medical Center in Memphis, where she was taken.
James Steven Jones, 60, of 4760 Bright Road, died at approximately 1 a.m. Monday at the Regional One Medical Center in Memphis after suffering thermal burns and smoke inhalation in a blaze which completely destroyed his home.
Jones' wife, Sharon, who is approximately 58 years of age, was taken to Regional One in critical condition. Hospital officials confirmed she died in the overnight hours Tuesday morning after being taken off life support on Monday.
Chris Olson, DeSoto County Emergency Management Deputy Director, was among the first responders notified that the Jones' residence was fully engulfed in flames.
Olson lives across the road from the Jones' residence. Another neighbor phoned his home after spotting the fire.
"The neighbor saw it and called my house," said Olson. "I hopped in my vehicle and went over to it (the fire.)"
Olson said both victims were alive upon his arrival.
"They were both outside the house already," said Olson, who said he responded to the fire at approximately 12:25 a.m. Sunday.
"The house was already heavily involved," added Olson. "I rendered aid as best I could."
According to Olson, James Jones worked at Walmart in Hernando.
Lisa Roberson, Walmart associate, described Jones as a "friendly co-worker with a good sense of humor."
Deputy Hernando Fire Chief Marshal Berry said a fire engine and medic crew from Fire Station No. 3 on Holly Springs Road were one of the first emergency units to respond to the blaze.
Sharon Jones was taken by ambulance to Regional One. James Jones was airlifted to Regional One by Life Flight.
Both victims were said to be severely burned according to a statement from the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.
"Based on the investigation, the fire started in the fireplace and got out of control. The fire is being ruled accidental," the statement said.
The brutally cold weather is said to have contributed to several fires during the past several days, including a structure fire on Red Banks Road on Monday.
DeSoto County emergency officials urged caution when heating homes during the spate of cold weather, noting that special caution should be taken when using small portable space heaters.
Clothing and other potentially flammable items should not be located in close proximity to a heat source.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.