Sylacauga man dies in house fire
by Emily Adams
A Sylacauga man was found dead in his home on Buena Vista Drive Tuesday night after the Sylacauga Fire Department responded to a heavy fire at the residence.
SYLACAUGA — A Sylacauga man was found dead Tuesday night after the Fire Department responded to a structure fire at his residence.

Greg Barkley, 51, was found inside the home at 1161 Buena Vista Drive and was pronounced dead at the scene at 10 p.m. by Talladega County Coroner Shaddix Murphy.

Firefighters were dispatched to the residence at 8:51 p.m. and located Barkley’s body 41 minutes later during a search conducted after the fire was brought under control, Fire Chief Matt Missildine said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office, but Missildine said there does not seem to be any foul play. He said the home appeared to have been burning for some time before the Fire Department was called.

“There was heavy fire coming out most of the roof at the time we arrived,” Missildine said. “It’s hard to say exactly how long it had been burning, because there are a lot of variables, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was around 30 or 40 minutes.”

The Fire Department sent two fire engines and a ladder truck to the scene. Sylacauga Police Department and Sylacauga Ambulance Service also responded.

No one else was in the house at the time of the fire, and Barkley lived there alone, Missildine said. The body was sent to forensics for an autopsy, although Murphy said the cause of death was likely smoke inhalation.

Kevin Love, who lives in a neighboring house on Buena Vista Drive, said neighbors watched the fire and even took pictures as the Fire Department responded, but did not know there was anyone inside the house.

“We didn’t think he was home, but then somebody saw a truck in the garage,” Love said. “I didn’t know (Barkley) other than seeing him every morning and saying, ‘hello,’ but it’s a sad situation.”

Love said firefighters gave condolences to Barkley’s family as they arrived.

“It was touching to see the firefighters hugging and offering comfort to the family members of the victim,” he said. “Thank God for our firefighters.”

The incident remains under investigation by the Sylacauga Police Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office.

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© 2012