Fatal fire at Ward residence

BEAR CREEK — A house fire proved fatal for a Bear Creek man, who was found by firefighters near the front door of his home while fire raged toward the back of the residence.
Charles Edward Ward, 75, was removed from the burning home by members of the Bear Creek Fire Department, who requested response from Marion County EMS, according to Bear Creek Fire Chief Adam Loden.
Ward, who reportedly had suffered smoke inhalation, was pronounced dead around 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 1,  on the scene by medics, officials on the scene said.  His body was picked up from the scene by Pinkard Funeral Home in Haleyville, which handled arrangements, Loden stated.
The fire department was called to Ward’s double wide manufactured home located at 9314 State Highway 241, around 2 p.m., Loden said.
“A passerby saw smoke coming from the eave of the house,” Loden stated. “The call came over as a structure fire. They didn’t know anyone was inside until they got there.”
Bear Creek firefighters responded with two pumper trucks and a tanker truck, requesting assistance from Hackleburg, which responded with a unit and manpower, fire officials said.
“When they pulled up, heavy smoke was coming from the house,” said Loden. “No flames were showing up front.”
Firefighters geared up to fight the fire and opened the front door to make entry, where  they discovered Ward lying unconscious on the floor  approximately two to three feet from the front door, said Loden.
Firefighters at this point removed Ward from the residence, requesting medical assistance, fire officials said.  After Ward was removed, firefighters made entry to fight the fire, finding flames in the rear bedroom.
“It was pretty much contained to the back bedroom,” said Loden, adding heavy heat and smoke damage occurred to the remainder of the residence.
Investigation into the cause of the fire has been turned over to the Alabama Fire Marshal’s office.
“He pretty much lived by himself. It’s sad for anyone to lose their life in a structure fire. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones,” Loden added.
Bear Creek Mayor Rob Taylor noted he had known Ward for several years.
“It’s a horrible tragedy. I feel terrible for the family,” Taylor said.  “He was a good man, and he will be missed, that’s for sure.
“On behalf of myself and my family, our prayers are with them, and on behalf of the town, our prayers are with them also,” Taylor concluded.
A retired welder from Fontaine Trailer Company in Haleyville, Ward served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

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