Man killed in Decatur house fire - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Man killed in Decatur house fire

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DECATUR, GA (CBS46) -

A fire in Dekalb County killed a retired MARTA driver this morning. Robert Jefferson, 71, was found in his home on Cheru Ct. by firefighters.
 
According to family and neighbors, losing Jefferson has been a very emotional and traumatic event.
 
The fire gutted Jefferson's home leaving gaping holes in the roof and destroying the back of the home to the point you can see the back yard from the front.
 
Captain Eric Jackson with the Dekalb County Fire Department says the fire is still under investigation. "The investigation has no timetable," said Jackson.
 
Even though fire fighters where just a few blocks away, they could not reach Jefferson in time to save his life. When they arrived, the home was fully engulfed in flames. They found his body only after knocking the fire down enough to search the home.
 
With Jefferson's passing, friends and family gathered at the shell of a home to try and retrieve what few mementos survived the fire. Firefighters were able to recover his Masonic bible, a few photo albums, and several rare documents like his high school diploma.
 
When approached, those in attendance sang Jefferson's praises. "He was a very loving, very kind, very outgoing person; never met somebody he didn't like," said Nafeesah Madyun, Jefferson's sister. "He'd give you the shirt off his back."
 
According to Madyun, her brother's focus in life was to be a strong mentor and supporter for young African American males. Males like his neighbor down the street, Thomas P. Dean III.
 
Dean watched the scene in silent reflection from his home; the emotional toll weighing on him greatly. "Robert Jefferson was a pillar of our society," said Dean. "Who he was; and how he lived; and the way he lived; and being the pillar of society that he was; will be something that we shall strive towards, and continue to live towards, every day."
 
In the meantime, Jefferson's family hopes to be able to recover more items that may have been spared in the fire but buried under debris; and the fire department will continue to investigate as they try to determine what caused the fire.

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