Elderly Man, 4 Dogs Die In Guthrie House Fire


Tuesday, April 2nd 2019, 9:51 pm
By: Bonnie Campo


Firefighters confirm that 94-year-old James Roper was the victim of a weekend house fire

Roper and his four dogs passed away after smoke filled his home off East Vilas, around 3:45 p.m. Saturday, March 30. 

Investigators say they were all likely victims of smoke inhalation.

“He was 94 years old. His mobility was limited in the fact that he was wheelchair bound. Crews did find his motorized wheelchair plugged in and charging inside the house,” said Chief Eric Harlow of the Guthrie Fire Department.

The chief said that the man who called 911 is a reporter for the local paper, who also is in a wheelchair.

Caller: “I can sit here and wait for y'all.”

Dispatch: “Okay, I can get the fire department that way.”

Neighbors said they are thankful that man called for help, but they will miss a dear friend.

“I called him Old Man Roper. I think most people do call him Old Man Roper,” said Cheryl White, a neighbor. “Even though he was in a wheelchair, he did his own gardening. He would cut down trees.”

White said Roper was a Wal-Mart greeter, and known by many in Guthrie. They say he will be greatly missed, especially by his family.

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