Two men killed in Panola County fire

BATESVILLE, Miss. — The Batesville community is mourning the tragic death of a hero.

Jeff Capwell died Friday morning while trying to save his family and friends from a house fire.

One other person also died, two survived.

This happened at a home off of Shiloh Road, that’s east of I-55 between Batesville and Courtland.

Smoke still rose from the ashes hours after firefighters put out the flames.

“Just a ball of fire, a ball of fire, it went right though,” said neighbor Jon French.

Now the house on Dawn Cove is just a charred shell.

Smoke woke Capwell and three others inside the Panola County home.

Capwell helped two women escape.

“He got the water hose and went back in,” said neighbor Jonathan French.

But Capwell and the other man never made it out.

A yellow hose still leads you through the doorway of the mobile home.

“Today Jeff died a hero, he had the courage to go back in,” said Jonathan French.

French, and his father Jon, live across the street.

Both are volunteer firefighters and heard alarms on their radios go off and rushed outside to help.

Without firefighting equipment at home, they were helpless.

All they could do was help console the two women Capwell saved.

“They was hollering and screaming, telling us to get them out of the house,” said Jon French.

“How did you feel? You know you can help put out fires,” said WREG’s Elise Preston.

“But, there was nothing to do it with. It was hard on me,” replied Jonathan French.

It also hard on many other volunteer firefighters who live nearby, the Courtland Volunteer Fire Department is offering counseling sessions for them this weekend.

“Jeff had a heart of Gold, he would do anything for anybody,” said French.

In his last moments he did, sacrificing himself to save and protect others.

Fire investigators haven’t said what’s to blame for sparking the fire.