Poplarville man dies in fire, not found for hours afterward

Published 7:00 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Poplarville man passed away in a fire that was not discovered until after daybreak.

Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said the fire occurred sometime in the early morning hours of Oct. 8 at a house trailer located at 124 Ida Reyer Rd., Poplarville. Due to the extent of fire damage to his remains, the deceased had to be identified through DNA testing. Turnage said a family member provided a DNA sample to be used as a basis for that testing, helping the emergency personnel identify the deceased as 66-year-old Charles Ray Benmoman.

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Pearl River County Fire Marshal Albert Lee said the fire occurred during the night, but was not called in until about 7:52 on Oct. 8. Turnage said an autopsy determined Benmoman passed away at about 1 a.m. that same day from thermal injuries sustained in the house fire.

No one saw the fire occur, which is why first responders were not alerted until day light. Lee said emergency personnel responded to find the family at the home. At first it was unclear if Benmoman was home at the time of the fire, but an inspection of the interior of the house trailer located Benmoman’s remains.

Lee said the initial investigation determined the fire possibly started in the bed, which was a motorized hospital bed. Turnage said emergency personnel found a butcher knife in the bed with Benmoman, but the autopsy did not find any evidence of injury to his person from a knife.

Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Shane Tucker said the case is still under investigation, but at this time there is no evidence to suggest foul play.