Lake City Reporter

Lake City man, 63, dies in fire

Lake City Reporter
December 6, 2002
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A Lake City man was killed in an apartment fire Thursday just a few blocks away from the Lake City Fire Department.

Roger Brannon, 63, of Lake City, died as the result of deadly fumes in his Columbia Avenue apartment minutes after authorities arrived. According to reports, the Lake City Fire Department was called to the scene at 5:58 a.m.

Brannon died as a result of carbon monoxide asphyxiation, autopsy results concluded.

A native of Lake Wales, Brannon had been a resident of Lake City since 1981 after moving from Jacksonville.

A Navy veteran, Brannon had served on the USS Saratoga and is survived by his mother, daughter and several other relatives. Graveside funeral services for him will be held at 2:30 p.m. today in Memorial Cemetery.

Capt. Gary Laxton, of the Lake City Police Department, said the police department was called to the scene just after 6 a.m.

"The fire department had the fire out pretty quick and contained it to one apartment," he said.

The state Fire Marshal's Office had cleared the scene by 9 a.m. and yellow police tape had been posted around the apartment's entrance.

Laxton said preliminary reports from the Fire Marshal's Office and the Lake City Fire Department indicate a gas/space heater could have been the cause of the fire. He said the space heater appeared to be too close to several cardboard boxes.

Laxton said fire department reports said Brannon was sleeping and woke up to an apartment that was on fire and when he stood up he came into a "low-hanging smoke" which overcame him before he could escape the apartment.

Joyce Adkinsson, manager of Rigsby Rentals, owners of the small apartment complex where Brannon lived, said he had been a tenant there since 1998 and was the only one living in the apartment.

Rigsby Rentals took over the nine-unit apartment complex this year, but Adkinsson said she had no idea how old the complex and its buildings are, or the monetary value of damage from Thursday's fire.

She said the building where Brannon resided was a block building and the fire didn't damage the upstairs unit, which was vacant. She said the upstairs unit just smelled of smoke.

"I met Mr. Brannon a few times during pest control visits and he seemed like a nice man," she said. "He never complained."

Adkinsson said the two-unit building will remain closed until they hear from the state fire marshal's office and other authorities.