Meridian Fire Victim Identified

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Authorities have identified Charlie Russell as the elderly man believed to be in his 70s that died when his trailer of 30 years that sits here on the corner of Fifth Street in Meridian somehow caught fire Saturday night.

"That is real sad. That old man had no reason to die," said Christina Butler.

"He was the best friend in this neighborhood," said Estella Blakely.

Neighbors say Mr. Russell was the neighbor that looked out for everyone. Estella Blakely lives across the street and says she knew him for 10 years. Blakley says you can't find too many free-hearted people like Mr. Russell and she says he will be greatly missed.

"I just feel real bad about his passing on. He would sometime come cross the street and say Ms. Stella I'm about to go the grocery story anything you need? And I would say no sir and he would just still bring something," said Blakely.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but neighbors say they have a few guesses. Blakely says it could have been an accident because Mr. Russell has fallen asleep before while smoking.

"I think it was accident because once before they had to call 911 when he had went to sleep with a cigarette and it busted that window out once before," said Blakely.

Or Blakely says it could have been foul play because last month neighbors found Mr. Russell badly beaten inside his trailer.

"He was blood shoot all in his eyes plus he had big cuts all cross his forehead like someone had took a knife or something and was cutting up on him," said Blakely.

"It's sad. It's really sad," said Butler.

Russell's body will be sent to Jackson for an autopsy.

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