Lauderdale County, Miss. The Pendergrass family was struck by tragedy on that heart-breaking morning eight months ago when a fire consumed their home in Toomsuba.
Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler says David Pendergrass's wife woke him when she smelled smoke. David hurried to his father, Clyde Pendergrass's room only to find it already engulfed in flames. David got his wife out of the house and rushed back into the home to search for his dad and his two-year-old son, Conner.
"Mr. David went back inside to look for the son and the grandfather, couldn't find them, got severely burned. The firemen from what I understand had to make him come out of the house," Cobler says. "He was transported to the hospital."
Unfortunately, Clyde Pendergrass and Conner Pendergrass perished in the fire.
The coroner says they don't often see people rushing back into house fires. But Cobler says it was probably this act of bravery that led to Pendergrass's extensive injuries and burns.
"Usually, we don't have that many that go back into the house, but Mr. David, he was a true hero trying to get everybody out, and unfortunately, he passed away because of it," Cobler says.
David later developed sepsis, from infection to those severe burns, which led to his death Tuesday morning.
"Sepsis is kind of strange, especially with burns. It can hit fairly sudden or take a long time, and obviously this took a long time. No matter how sterile you are treating it, sometimes sepsis just sets in and that's it. It just poisons the body from the inside," Cobler explains.
Cobler says the body of David's father, Clyde, was later found in the home, apparently holding the child's body, leaving David's wife and son Payton the only survivors from that April house fire.