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Officers responded to a call about a domestic incident and found the house engulfed in flames.
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Police found the body of Randall Lee Bryant in his house in the 4400 block of Thaxton Road area of Pulaski County on Tuesday.
MATT GENTRY | The Roanoke Times
Thursday, July 11, 2013
A man’s body was found inside a burning house Tuesday in Pulaski County, just outside Pulaski town limits.
Sheriff Jim Davis said dispatchers received a call about a domestic incident about 2 p.m. When deputies arrived in the 4400 block of Thaxton Road, they found a home almost fully engulfed in flames, Davis said.
Officers were told that someone was inside. Deputies went to the back of the house because the fire was mainly located in the front, but they found the door locked. Once they got the door open, the officers could not enter because of the fire. Firefighters arrived and were able to control the flames enough to get inside, Davis said.
The body of Randall Lee Bryant, 44, was found in the front area of the house.
His body has been sent to Roanoke for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, Davis said. No one else was inside the house when deputies arrived, and no one else was injured, Davis said.
Davis declined to elaborate on how the fire may have started or whether Bryant died as a result of it. He would not comment on the nature of the domestic incident reported in the call or identify the person who told officers that someone was inside the burning home.
Bryant lived in the house with a woman, who was either his longtime girlfriend or wife, according to neighbors and a friend. Davis said he was unsure of the couple’s status and declined to identify the woman.
Joseph Haga, a friend of the couple who was surveying the damage Wednesday, said that, to his knowledge, the two got into a fight yesterday, and Bryant “ran her off and set the house on fire.”
Neighbor Rickey Dalton said that between 12:30 and 1 p.m., he saw Bryant spinning his vehicle around in the front yard, “burning rubber” and tossing up gravel. Bryant and the woman began arguing, which Dalton said he didn’t think was out of the ordinary because it had happened numerous times over the past few years.
Dalton and his wife, Marilyn, went back inside, but about an hour later, Dalton said he saw the flames and the woman standing in front of the house screaming that Bryant was still inside.
“I wish she had come down here earlier and told me he was in there,” Dalton said. “Maybe I could have gotten him out.”
Marilyn Dalton said she heard the woman yelling that Bryant “went into the basement to be burnt up with the house.”
Bryant and the woman moved into the home 10 or 15 years ago, Rickey Dalton said. Though the pair often fought, Bryant was “always a good man,” Dalton added.
Haga said the couple was “always in a good mood, happy-go-lucky and got along with everyone.”
The pair would do anything for others, he said. The woman enjoyed flowers and kept a small tomato garden on the property. Bryant loved fixing up the house and had spent a lot of time gutting and rebuilding it, Haga said.
“He just put a new bathroom in it and redid the kitchen,” Haga said. “He just built a back deck, and she was going to put a flower garden back there.”
The Roanoke Times is not naming the woman, pending further confirmation of her identity. The couple also owned three dogs, according to neighbors. Davis said he was not aware of any animal injuries or fatalities.
“I never thought in a million years he would do anything like this,” Haga said of Bryant. “It must have taken a lot to upset him that bad to drastically do what he done.”
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