SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – Just one day after a Smith County house fire killed 35-year-old Jack McKenzie Ross, his neighbor Dianne Scott remembers how her mind immediately went to his mother.

“All I could see was flames coming from the house across the street from me,” she said. “My heart was broken because of the fact that her house was burning down and the fact that her son might have still been there.”

Scott has lived in that area since 1965. She has seen neighbors come and go, but she is still close to Ross’ mother; so close that she still calls to check on her.

“I just called to give my condolences and let her know that I’ll be praying for her and that if anything she need I was here for her anything that I could just feel free to call on me.”

Diane Scott

Another man who lives down the street said he found out about Jack Ross’ death from his wife’s relative, saying her cousin in California found out before they did.

While crews tried to fight the flames in the darkness and through trees, one firefighter was shocked and sent to the hospital. Smith County Fire Marshal Jay Brooks said Ross was loved in the community.

“Everybody I talked to said he was just as sweet and nice and caring a person as you can ever want to met any loss of life is tragic but this family is very, very distraught,” he said.