Authorities in Monroe County are investigating the cause of an explosion and fire that killed a young man and his teenage girlfriend at approximately 1 a.m. Wednesday Nov. 14.
Volunteer Fire Department personnel from Conasauga, Coker Creek, and Tellico Plains Fire Departments responded to the fire on Towee Falls Road in rural Monroe County.
The fire had completely engulfed the structure at the time of their arrival.
Family members of 22-year-old Caleb Lawrence advised Firefighters and Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputies on the scene that Caleb and 17-year-old Brittany
Long were in the motor home.
After firefighters extinguished the fire, investigators found two bodies in the rear of the motor home. They have been tentatively identified as Lawrence and Long.
Detectives from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bomb and Arson Squad were requested to assist. The bodies have been sent to University of Tennessee Medical Center for autopsy following protocol. Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens did not want to speculate on the cause until after the autopsies, however, he said investigators had at that point found no reason to suspect foul play.
Caleb’s father, Johnny Lawrence, was treated for burns to his hands and face. It was unclear if Lawrence was in the motor home with his son and the son’s girlfriend, or if he suffered the injuries when he tried to rescue the young couple.
Lawrence was a Florida native and Long’s family lives nearby in Tellico Plains.
By Wes Hall