World War II Veteran Dies In House Fire Near Salina
MAYES COUNTY, Oklahoma - An elderly man was killed in an overnight fire just east of Salina Wednesday morning, according to Mayes County first responders. Family members say he was a 95-year-old World War II veteran.
The call came in just before 1 a.m. at a home in the 52000 block of North 442.8 Road.
State fire investigators were collecting evidence and slowly sifting through the smoldering remains of the house. It was here in the debris where an elderly man's body was found.
"The dwelling itself burned completely the ground, and now we're doing a fact-finding endeavor," said Major Rod Howell with the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office.
The Mayes County Sheriff's Office is assisting in the investigation and said they first started getting 911 calls around 1 a.m. The man's house was completely engulfed in flames.
"Firefighters did a great job putting the fire out," Howell said. "During the course of our investigation found a body inside."
Investigators are waiting for the medical examiner to officially identify the body because of its condition, but family members tell us the victim is 95-year-old Marvin Back.
His son did not want to go on camera but said his dad was a World War II veteran and had lived at the house for many years - and was living alone after his wife died. News of the tragedy spread quickly today through neighboring towns.
"My cousin actually called me, but I didn't know it was him," said Kary Fisher. "Being a small town, you find out.
Fisher knew Marvin Back.
"It is sad, you know, cause he was always a nice gentleman."
And as the community mourns his loss, investigators are working to find out a cause and exactly how he died.
"We're going to have to rely heavily on the state fire marshal as well as our investigators, to find out cause and origin of the fire itself and then determine through the ME's office what the manner and cause of death is," said Major Rod Howell with the Mayes County Sheriff’s Office.
Nobody else was home at the time of the fire.