KAYSVILLE — Neighbors are remembering a 76-year-old who was found dead after crews put out a fire in a Kaysville home Friday.
The man, identified as 76-year-old DeRay Taylor, was generous and friendly according to his neighbors.
“DeRay was a wonderful neighbor, always willing and ready to wave and to talk,” shared Kevin Wood, who lives across the street. “He was into botany. We’ve got irises here in our yard that DeRay specially blended to make the colors of Davis High School.”
Kaysville firefighters got the call of a fire at Taylor’s home, located near 250 North between 500 East and 600 East, on Friday night around 10:15 p.m.
“They had pretty heavy fire involvement coming out of all the windows,” explained Captain Aaron Shupe of the Kaysville Fire Department.
Firefighters searched the home looking for Taylor.
“They went into the bedrooms where they thought that he would’ve been and tried to search those rooms as quickly as possible to see if they could find him, possibly save him and they were not able to find him,” explained Shupe.
Taylor’s body was found about halfway down a hallway, according to Shupe.
“It’s very difficult for all of us,” Shupe said. “When you hear that call that there is possibly somebody in there. It turns everything up to try and get them out.”
Investigators from the Utah State Fire Marshall’s Office determined that the fire started at the fireplace.
DeRay was a wonderful neighbor, always willing and ready to wave and talk.
–Kevin Wood, neighbor
“He had an open fire in his open fireplace and then we don’t know how but somehow the fire was able to get out and get his room contents on fire,” Shupe said.
Shupe reminded others Sunday to be extra vigilant this time of year.
“If you have an open fireplace, they do make devices that help shield the opening,” Shupe said.
For now, Wood says his irises have taken on a special meaning.
“It’s going to mean something different next year, when those irises come up knowing that Taylor from across the street that was his handiwork,” Wood said.
Taylor lived alone in his home and no one else was injured, according to officials.