OSCEOLA, Ark. — Family and friends are in mourning after a man was killed in a fire in Osceola, Arkansas.
The fire reportedly happened at a duplex on the Osceola Housing Authority property on South Broadway. The fire department made the scene around 1 p.m. and reported Smith’s apartment was already “heavily involved”.
Family members say 39-year-old Tavis Smith died as a result of his injuries. Smith was confined to a wheelchair following a massive stroke two years ago.
“He was the baby of the family,” said his sister Tequesta Oliver. “He was my baby. He was my baby.”
Osceola Police say an officer pulled Smith out of the burning apartment, but Smith did not survive. The officer wasn’t injured.
“When they finally got him out, he was livin’, ” Oliver said. “He was still alive, and they said he tried to gasp for his air, and that’s when he deceased in his front yard.”
Oliver says she would visit her brother almost daily, driving from Blytheville, but Thursday she was running a little late and learned of the fire while she was in route.
“Everybody was calling me, screaming, saying, ‘His house was on fire, his house was on fire,'” Oliver said.
Friday, Oliver was embraced and supported by family and friends but left with only memories of her brother.
The adjoining duplex was also damaged but the occupants escaped.
Osceola does not have a fire investigator, so the Arkansas State Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the case and will determine the cause of the fire.