Harrison County

Biloxi man, dog die in house fire

Family retrieves dead dog from house where man died

Ollie Lamey Jr.'s relatives survey the damage and retrieve the dog that died with him in a fire at his Biloxi home.
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Ollie Lamey Jr.'s relatives survey the damage and retrieve the dog that died with him in a fire at his Biloxi home.

A 79-year-old Biloxi man and his dog died in an early-morning fire on Sunday.

Ollie Lamey Jr. was found dead in his cinder-block house on the north end of Seal Avenue, said his son.

Lamey Jr.’s daughter Bridget Lamey, his girlfriend Linda Gontner and another son, Ollie Lamey III, were also in the house but escaped the fire.

Bridget Lamey said she was in the carport talking with her brother about 4 a.m. when she heard a noise from inside.

“When I opened the door, it [the fire] was in the top of the house,” she said.

Bridget Lamey was able to help Linda Gontner out of the house, but when she went back in, there was too much smoke.

“I couldn’t get to him,” she said as she stood barefoot in the mud outside the house. “I felt bad because I couldn’t get to him. I tried everything I could to save him.”

Bridget Lamey said after smoke forced her back out the front door, she went to her father’s bedroom window and banged on the glass but to no avail.

“If I hadn’t heard the popping sound, we probably all would be dead,” Bridget Lamey said.

Gontner suffers from asthma and was taken to Merit Health Care in Biloxi, Lamey III said.

Lamey and another relative went into the damaged house to retrieve the dog.

King, a chihuahua, was Lamey Jr.’s close companion.

“He slept in the bed with him all the time,” his son said. “He said if the dog died, he wanted the dog to be to be cremated with him.”

Biloxi Fire Department’s Deputy Chief of Operations Jeff Merrill said Lamey Jr. had been sleeping in bed with his dog when he died.

About 20 firefighters responded to the blaze.

“When we pulled up to the scene, it was heavy fire throughout the structure,” he said. “It took about 40 minutes to get the fire under control and about an hour later we got all the hot spots out.”

No firefighters were injured, though a few became overheated, Merrill said.

Merrill said it was unclear if the home had a smoke alarm.

The house was completely gutted. A Chrysler van in the carport was completely burned, and a pick-up truck in the driveway was partially burned.

Family members remained outside the house after the fire department left.

Lamey Jr.’s son pointed out a bar stool in what used to be the kitchen.

“That’s where he used to have breakfast every day,” he said.

Sun Herald reporter Margaret Baker contributed to this report.

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