A Diana man died in a blaze Saturday night at a camper where the victim resided next to his mother’s home in Diana, said Upshur County Fire Marshal Paul Steelman.
Dewey Randal (Randy) Hankins, 56, was found dead in the aluminum building on Hankins Road after firefighters extinguished the blaze, Steelman said.
He was the brother of the chief of the Diana Community’s fire chief. Diana Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief Kenny Hankins was among firefighters from Diana and Ore City who responded to the fire, reported at 10:18 p.m. by the victim’s mother, said the fire marshal.
“Right now, I don’t want to speculate on exactly what happened, but I will say fire originated in the area where Mr. Hankins was in the camper, and due to health problems, he was not able to safely exit by himself,” Steelman told The Mirror Sunday night.
Upshur County Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace Rhonda Welch, who pronounced Hankins dead at the scene and ordered an autospy, said a family member told her Hankins “called his mother on the phone and said, ‘Fire! Fire!’” The woman then looked out a window and saw smoke, Judge Welch said she was told.
Randy Hankins was alone in the camper, located on a county road off FM 3245 in eastern Upshur County, Steelman said. The structure was fully involved in flames within moments after firefighters arrived, but the blaze was extinguished quickly, he said.
Whether the victim died of smoke inhalation remained unknown pending authorities’ receiving results of the autopsy, which Judge Welch said was scheduled at the Southeast Texas Forensic Center near Tyler.