Pastor, wife killed in house fire in Ft. Bend County

May 30, 2010 7:20:40 PM PDT
A tragedy on this holiday weekend as a local pastor and his wife were killed when a fire erupted in their Fort Bend County home. The couple leaves behind two sons and an entire community in mourning. What we don't know yet is what started the fire and how the husband and wife were killed. The fire started early Sunday morning at the family's home on Branchwater Lane in the Townewest subdivision.

"It was hot, as soon as I came outside it was hot," said Warricke Johnson.

He woke up to pounding on his front door around 1am Sunday morning.

"The flames were just pouring and pouring," Johnson said.

His neighbor's house was on fire. Johnson snapped images of 10-12 foot flames shooting from their rooftop. Michelle John-Lewis rushed outside and was overcome with emotion to see her neighbor's body in his driveway.

"Then later they pulled out the wife," John-Lewis said. "And that was really sad."

As family learned about the fire, many left church to face what they feared most.

"It's very bad. I just talked to their son, the older one. I told him be careful," said family member Annamma John.

The couple is originally from Kerala in South India, but moved to Sugar Land in 1999. Their two adult sons, who spent the weekend at home, just left on Saturday. They will now return to find a gutted home empty without their parents.

"He was a pastor in India, had a church, pioneered churches," said family member Vargheese Kochummen. "He had a good ministry there, he came here and took the chaplaincy program."

Kochummen believes the couple who died are his aunt and uncle. He says their loss leaves a gap in the community in which they were so active. Now as that community mourns the two precious lives, they vow to give back.

"Next services, I'm thinking whatever help I can do, we will do as a church," said Pastor VM Abraham.

Authorities have not released the names of the husband and wife. The Galveston County medical examiner says autopsies on the couple's bodies will be conducted on Monday to determine their exact cause of death.


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