A World War II veteran who developed Flycasters RV Park in Shady Cove, Ore., was found dead inside the burnt-out hulk of his trailer Monday (Oct. 8), according to the Mail Tribune, Medford.
A neighbor Monday afternoon saw a plume of smoke billowing from the fifth-wheel trailer where Thomas Leon Denman, 83, lived, according to Jackson County Fire District No. 4 Chief Bob Miller.
The neighbor raced down the hill on an all-terrain vehicle, flagged down a passing motorist to call 911 from a cell phone and attacked the fire with a garden hose, Miller said.
The fire was too big, and engulfed the trailer and an attached storage shed and had spread to nearby brush and small trees by the time fire crews arrived 13 minutes later. Firefighters from three departments quelled the blaze, which was fueled by several leaking propane tanks, in less than 20 minutes. Then they found Denman’s body, Miller said.
Denman, who lived on a limited income since selling Flycasters in 1989, moved to the property early last summer to serve as a caretaker and monitor a remodeling project.
A native Texan, Denman moved to Shady Cove around 1970 from Petaluma, Calif., to make good on his dream of building a campground in Oregon.
An autopsy will be done to confirm Denman’s identity and determine the cause of his death, Miller said.