A Denison man is thankful for the help he received from his Durant church and others after a house fire killed his brother.

Doug and Don Brown were both living in the house in the 1100 block of Layne Drive in Denison on Jan. 17 when a fire broke out.

“I was sleeping and I woke up hearing my brother holler,” Doug Brown said. “He said, ‘… Help me put the fire out.’”

Doug Brown said everything after that happened so quickly that he barely had time to get his flip-flops on his feet and get out the back of the house before flames had engulfed the home.

His brother didn’t make it out of the house. DFD ruled that the fire was started by a space heater that came into contact with combustible materials. That fire blocked the path to the front door for David Brown, who used a wheelchair.

“I just want to thank the Denison Fire Department and the paramedics,” Doug Brown said.

Losing his brother and the home they grew up in was a hard blow, he said. He wouldn’t have made it through it without the help of the community. The Red Cross, Doug Brown said, provided him with clothes since he escaped the fire only with what he had on his back. They also gave him a place to stay while he made other arrangements.

“And I want to thank my Pastor Jim Mitchell and his wife Marilyn, all of my brothers and sisters in Christ at the Highway 91 Church of Christ (in Colbert), who paid for my brother’s services,” Doug Brown said, adding he also wanted to thank the Colbert Senior Citizens Center and American Funeral Home for their help.

A church friend has also provided him with a place to stay while he finds his feet.

Shortly after the fire, DFD Fire Marshal John Weda encouraged all homeowners to make sure that space heaters are kept at least three feet away from flammable materials and that they have multiple paths of escape in the event of a fire.

“It’s just a tragic example that people should always be careful with heating appliances and to make sure that you can get out through windows and doors and that those are functioning and maintained properly,” Weda said.