Cedar Hill police revealed Friday why they believe the fire that killed a beloved pastor, his wife and daughter was suspicious.
The medical examiner positively identified the bodies of pastor Eugene Keahey and his wife Deanna Keahay. A third victim — said to be a teenaged daughter by friends and family — has not yet been positively identified. The fire also left another daughter critically injured.
Family and friends gathered at Parkland Hospital Friday night, where the critically injured Keahey daughter is battling for her life.
“The fact the fire was burning for quite a while before we became aware of it. No. 2, is the evidence that is located inside the residence during the initial far investigation,” said Cedar Hill PD Sgt. Chad Cooley.
At the time of the fire, neighbors reported hearing something that sounded like gunfire. But police would not elaborate on that or the evidence found inside the home.
The State Fire Marshall’s Office, as well as Cedar Hill Fire Department arson investigators, combed through the charred remains Friday and gathered evidence samples of possible accelerants inside the home.
“They were able to collect a couple of different samples that will be submitted to DPS his lab in Austin,” Sgt. Cooley said.
A dash camera video released on Friday shows what Cedar Hill Police encountered as they responded to the burning home of Pastor Eugene Keahey early Thursday morning. It shows officers immediately kicking down the front door and going in, in an attempt to rescue people trapped inside.
Once officers realized two people were trapped upstairs they quickly moved a squad car into place. And with the help of an officer, a woman and a man jumped out of a second-story window onto the hood of the squad car.
As firefighters arrived, they were able to rescue one of the pastor’s teenage daughters, she remains critical at Parkland Hospital. A friend and family spokesman says the girl underwent surgery Friday.
The spokesperson also said the family’s oldest daughter has arrived from Atlanta, where she had been attending college, and that they are all overwhelmed and struggling to cope with what’s happened.
Pastor Keahey was a long-time leader at Mount Zion Church of Sand Branch.
It’s now become clear though that the family was having financial difficulties.
Records from the Dallas County Appraisal District indicate the home was foreclosed on last year, before being sold on Jan. 11.
Although, clearly the family was still living in it.