AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)- An Augusta man is dead after a house fire early Sunday morning. Around 6 a.m., firefighters responded to the a on Travis Pines Drive in Augusta. They found the body of 20-year-old Gary Nelson Durham inside.
His large family gathered at the site of the fire Sunday morning to remember the aspiring musician. They say he had some troubles in the past, but was just starting to turn his life around when the fire claimed him.
“It was a shocker,” said Durham’s cousin Princess Moss. “I just spoke with him yesterday.”
She says he had been out at an uncle’s house till 4 or 5 a.m. but had come to his grandmother’s house, where he had been staying. Soon after that, the house went up in flames, but relatives say it wasn’t enough to wake him.
“Only thing we know is that he didn’t suffer,” Moss said. “They say the smoke did it, and so that’s really all that matters– that he didn’t suffer.”
But those he left behind are suffering.
“Everybody want[s] to cry,” Moss said.
Durham’s uncle Jeffery Story says his nephew was at a crossroads in life, with a lot to look forward to, when fate cut it short.
“It’s heart-wrenching to even think about it, because I was looking forward to him getting stable and getting his own place,” he said.
Story said he was helping his nephew look for a job, which was an exciting possibility for him.
“The kid had a good heart, and he was looking forward to trying to get on his feet,” Story said. “That’s all he’d been talking about for the last two weeks since I told him.”
He says he hopes Durham’s passing will remind his younger siblings and cousins that life is short, but it’s never too late to change your course.
“And things like this that happen…I try to look at it on a positive note– on a Godly note,” he said. “It’s for family members to come together, and try to help these young men and women that’re out here in these streets. Try to make a difference in they lives,” he said.
Durham’s body will be sent to the GBI crime lab in Atlanta for an autopsy. No one else was inside the house. The fire and death are still under investigation.