BRYAN, Texas – City of Bryan Fire Marshals completed their investigation into a devastating house fire early Tuesday evening, after determining that an electrical problem with an extension cord was the cause of the blaze .
Jon Paul McPeake, a disabled military veteran, pulled his wife and four young children from the flames of his Carter Creek home on Tuesday night, burning himself in the process. He’s still being watched for smoke inhalation now.
Bryan’s Vice Fire Lt. Ethan Ballard has analyzed the internal structure and selected a few items for the family to save.
“One of the individuals was in the military, and I was able to find his ceremonial uniform, and I pulled it out for him,” Ballard said.
The fire started around 6 p.m. Tuesday night in the McPeakes’ living room, involving an overheated electrical cord and surge protection tape. The smoke detectors in the house didn’t seem to work at the time. An adult, Jon Paul’s mother, Trish, tried to escape through a window with the help of a neighbor, but was unsuccessful. Firefighters entered the residence, then walked through the flames to save it.
“The crews had a heavy fire while they were in there, and they knocked out the fire and several people helped them out through the front door,” Ballard said.
Trish was airlifted to Houston and remains in critical but stable condition in a hospital there. Firefighters noted that the family’s dogs had perished on Tuesday evening.
Bryan Fire Chief Richard Giusti said tragedies like this happen to families all the time, unfortunately, as most people routinely overlook safety hazards.
“Fires can happen no matter what,” he said. “You know, you just can’t explain anything. But have a plan and get your smoke detectors working, too. Check them regularly. “
A GoFundMe has been launched to help the McPeakes:
Fundraiser by Michelle Stephens: McPeake Family Fire (gofundme.com)