A Jones County chicken farmer got his wife and daughter out of their burning home, but he apparently died after trying to save the family’s dogs and puppies.

Khanh Van Duong, 56, was “about a foot from the door” when he fell and died in his home on Highway 29 North just after midnight Monday, said Jones County Sheriff’s Department fire investigator J.D. Carter.

He got his wife Vinh, 54, and daughter Khanh, 30, out of the home, but he reportedly went back in to try to save two adult dogs and eight puppies, and all of them lost their lives. The victim, who is of Vietnamese descent, had a California address but had been working as a chicken farmer in Jones County for a couple of years, officials said. The home was near the intersection of Highway 29 North and John Hill Road, just north of Highway 84, known as “Buttermilk Crossing.”

Volunteers from Calhoun, Pleasant Ridge, Soso, Hebron, Powers, South Jones and Southwest Jones responded to the fire, along with the JCSD, Deputy Coroner Ernest Hollingsworth, EMServ Ambulance and the State Fire Marshal’s Office. One firefighter sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene by EMServ, but he declined transport to the emergency room. 

It’s believed that the fire originated in an addition to the home that served as a storage area.  The cause is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal, as is standard procedure in all fire deaths, but foul play is not suspected, Carter said.

The family members who escaped told deputies who were first on the scene that Duong was still inside, but the fire and smoke were too strong, so rescue efforts had to cease, according to reports. The house was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. The victim’s body was recovered in the rear of the home, near a door.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family during this tragic loss of their loved one,” Carter said.

— PIO Dana Bumgardner/Jones County Fire Council and PIO Lance Chancellor/JCSD contributed.


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