WAYLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man was found dead Tuesday morning after firefighters extinguished a fire at a mobile home east of Wayland.
Family members identified the victim as Jason Morgan, 44.
He lived for years at the home in the Rabbit River Estates mobile home community off 135th Avenue in Wayland Township.
“Everybody in Wayland knows Jason,” Roy Bixler, Morgan’s cousin, said. “He tried to make everybody laugh. Everything was a joke. … If he could pull a joke on you, he’d do it.”
Michigan State Police investigating the fire. As of Tuesday afternoon, they said nothing had been found that would lead them to believe it was criminal in nature. No information was immediately available about what caused the fire or precisely where in the home it started.
Melissa Forsythe lives two doors away from the scene of the fire and returned home around 11 a.m. to see her neighbor’s home burning.
“It was just a big ball of smoke. You couldn’t hardly even see the house, there was that much smoke,” Forsythe told 24 Hour News 8. “It was just unreal.”
Firefighters said the victim’s body was found in the kitchen, not far from the front door.
Family members said Morgan had a physical disability that was the result of a car crash years ago. He walked with a limp and could not use his right arm. Some questioned whether his ailments hampered his ability to escape the fire.
Morgan was known at the park for his two dogs that he walked regularly. He frequently asked neighbors for rides so he could get where he needed to go.
“He was an icon,” Sandi Seeley, a neighbor, said. “He was always walking.”
Community members have planned a vigil for Morgan for Wednesday evening. People who wish to participate should meet at 7 p.m. at the United Methodist Church on Church Street.