BRYAN, Texas — Bryan city fire marshals have concluded their investigation of a devastating house fire from early Tuesday evening, having determined that an electrical issue with an extension cord is what started the blaze.
Jon Paul McPeake, a disabled military veteran, pulled his wife and four young children from the flames of his carter creek home Tuesday evening, burning himself in the process. He’s still being monitored for smoke inhalation now.
Bryan deputy lieutenant fire marshal Ethan Ballard analyzed the internal structure, and picked out a few items for the family to save.
"One of the individuals was in the military, and I was able to find his dress uniform, and I brought that out for him," said Ballard.
The fire had started around 6 p.m. Tuesday evening in the McPeakes' living room, involving an over heated electrical cord and surge protector strip. Smoke alarms in the home did not appear to have been working at the time. One adult, Jon Paul’s mother Trish, tried to escape through a window with the assistance of a neighbor, but was unable. Firefighters entered the residence, then made their way through the flames to save her.
“The crews did have heavy fire when they were over there inside, and they got the fire knocked down and had several people help them out the front door," Ballard relayed.
Trish was air-flighted to Houston and remains in critical but stable condition at a hospital there. Firefighters noted that the family dogs perished Tuesday night.
Bryan Fire Chief Richard Giusti commented that tragedies like this happen to families all the time, unfortunately, as most people regularly overlook safety hazards.
“Fires can happen no matter what," he said. "You know, you just can’t account for anything. But have a plan, and also have your smoke detectors working. Check those regularly."
A GoFundMe has been started to assist the McPeakes: