Smoke inhalation suspected in Rogersville man's death

Jeff Bobo • May 17, 2007 at 11:51 AM

ROGERSVILLE - Investigators believe a man who was found deceased Wednesday morning in his home south of Rogersville in the Persia community died of smoke inhalation due to an electrical fire in his bedroom.

A family member discovered Eugene Weems Jr., 41, 254 McCloud Church Road, deceased on his bedroom floor Wednesday shortly after 8 a.m.

Sheriff Roger Christian said the death appears to be accidental, and no foul play is suspected. But his body has been taken to the Quillen College of Medicine for an autopsy.

Weems was found inside his bedroom with the door closed. Christian said there had apparently been an electrical fire in a wall outlet in the bedroom.

"Most likely the fire utilized all the oxygen in the bedroom and self-extinguished and was contained there in the bedroom," Christian said. "Obviously you could tell there had been a pretty big fire with a great deal of smoke. It had burned up the wall, and there was soot on the wall and the ceiling.

"We suspect he died of smoke inhalation, but we can't confirm the cause of death until the autopsy is completed."

Christian said there's no estimate at this time as to when Weems died or when the fire occurred.

The state fire marshal has also been called in to investigate the cause of the fire.

Weems was associated with the Hawkins County Sheriff's Office as a former deputy jailer and was also the stepson of Sgt. Lynn Short, longtime HCSO deputy, former county commissioner and former sheriff candidate.

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