Man found dead in brush fire

'He was sitting on a stump on fire'
Feb. 25, 2014 @ 08:10 AM

A Hudson man was found dead in the middle of a brush fire Monday shortly after he and his brother-in-law had been working outside together

Junior Jackson, 65, of Cleo Drive had gone with his brother-in-law, David Lowman, 60, to work on three acres they own off Dishman Place near Granite Falls. Lowman said he went to the bottom of a field to work on a tree stand, and Jackson went to the top of the field. Twice while he was at the bottom, Lowman tried to call Jackson but got no answer. Concerned, he stopped and headed up toward where Jackson had been; he hollared as he went, but no one answered.

Reaching the field, he saw part of it was on fire. He told a friend, Lentz Lyda of Dishman Place, that within the fire was a grisly sight.

"He said he walked up to him and he was sitting on a stump on fire," Lyda said.

The narrow gravel road quickly filled up with emergency vehicles after Lowman called for help just after 1 p.m. Lowman was visibly shaken later and had trouble standing as investigators worked nearby.

Lyda said Lowman and Jackson had not been burning anything Monday, and he guessed that Jackson's trademark cigar may have started the fire, possibly falling after a medical condition had struck Jackson.

Lyda and his wife, Audrey, had known Jackson for years. They recall seeing Jackson driving his Dodge pickup to the end of Dishman Place daily to work on the land, or hunt deer.

"He always kept a short cigar in his mouth,' Lentz Lyda said.

Jackson's death and the cause of the fire, which scorched more than an acre, were being investigated by the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office, the N.C. Forest Service and Emergency Management Services.