Body in Burned-Out House Could Be That of Missing Man

Firefighters overlooked man at time of fire

The family of a missing man said they believe they discovered his body in a burned-out home Dallas firefighters left days ago.

Relatives said they are convinced they found the remains of Ernest Ray Sirls, 46, of Dallas. Sirls, who is homeless, has been missing since Friday. The Dallas County Medical Examiner has not yet formally identified the remains.

Rose Braggs, the man's mother, said her son had been known to visit the vacant house that burned. He grew up in the neighbhorhood, his family said.

"They called while I was at the scene with his body and said, 'We got Ernest's benefits started today and found him a home," Braggs said. "And I said, 'Well I'm sorry, it's too late."

Neighbors said they were angry firefighters overlooked the body.

"(It) seems to me that they just put the fire out and never even went to see if there was any people in there, alive or dead," Jacquelyn Johnson said.

Dallas Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Evans said Wednesday that he believes the man's life could not have been saved.

Evans said the house was consumed in flames when firefighters arrived early Friday morning, and they were not able to enter the structure.

But firefighters did enter afterward and found no body in the rubble, he said.

"The fire department is deeply regretful that they had to go through this situation, finding that body on their own," Evans said.

He said an internal investigation is underway to prevent it from happening again.

"Clearly there was a mistake made on our part," Evans said. 

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