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PALESTINE, November 15, 2013—UPDATE: The City of Palestine and other agencies continue with their investigation regarding the early morning blaze that occurred at 119 E. Oak, on Saturday, September 28, 2013.
At this time, the second victim identification has been confirmed. Through the use of DNA testing, the deceased has been identified as 43 year- old Aaron Wayne Pence.
“We hate to experience a tragic loss of life, but we are relieved to be able to provide a positive identification to Mr. Pence’s family. We hope it helps bring them some closure in dealing with their loss.” stated Wendy Ellis, City Manager.
The building debris removal has been completed, and investigations efforts are continuing.
PALESTINE, October 21, 2013--UPDATE: The City of Palestine and other agencies continue with their investigation regarding the reason for the early morning blaze that occurred at 119 E. Oak, on Saturday, September 28, 2013. At this time, no determination has been made on how or where the fire started.
Two victims were recovered from the scene. The medical examiner has identified one of the bodies from dental records. The deceased has been identified as Hope Leaane Pyle, nicknamed Hope Clark. She was a 32-year old female, from Palestine.
Work on identifying the second victim is on-going. Identification will take place through matching DNA records. It could still be 30 days or more before that match is confirmed.
“We are saddened by the loss of life in this tragedy, but we are thankful to be making progress and hope that these efforts will bring some closure to family and friends of the victim,” stated Wendy Ellis, Interim City Manager.
Much of the cleanup has been completed, and investigation efforts are continuing. Additional updates will follow as information becomes available.
PALESTINE September 30, 2013--Just after midnight, on Saturday, Palestine Police dispatch received a report of a structure fire at 119 East Oak Street. Palestine Fire Department responded with three engines and a command vehicle. There were unconfirmed reports of the possibility of individuals being inside the building.
Upon arrival at the scene, heavy fire conditions in the rear of the building and heavy smoke throughout the structure were encountered. Within minutes of being on scene, the structure suffered the first of multiple collapses making it impossible for fire fighters to enter the building. A defensive strategy was employed to protect exposures and fire personnel on scene. Once the fire was extinguished, a search mission immediately commenced.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice personnel assisted in the efforts by bringing in canine units to search the area. At approximately 4:00 p.m., two victims were located at the scene. At this time a positive identification of the victims has not been made. They were taken to the coroner’s office for autopsy.
The fire remains under investigation, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office has been contacted to assist with the investigation.
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