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Elderly couple perishes in tragic house fire


Despite all FD units responding and best efforts, lives lost in early morning fire


Tragedy struck in the early morning hours in West Memphis this past Saturday, March 2, 2024, when the West Memphis Fire Department responded to a devastating house fire at 903 Briarcliff Road. The fire claimed the lives of an elderly couple, George and Becky Turnbo.

The WMFD received the distress call at 4:46 a.m., with reports indicating the possibility of individuals trapped inside the burning residence. A vigilant passerby captured the incident on video and honked her horn in a desperate attempt to alert the occupants. Within six minutes of the initial dispatch, fire crews arrived at the scene to find the single-family home fully engulfed in flames at the rear of the structure.

Despite the intense fire that had already consumed a third of the residence, firefighters initiated a swift and aggressive search for the victims. Tragically, George Turbo, 76 and a veteran, was rescued from the blaze but was in cardiac arrest. WMFD Paramedics performed life-saving measures onsite and rushed him to Regional One Health in Memphis. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries later on. The body of Becky Turnbo, 69, was also discovered within the structure, unresponsive and beyond medical intervention. She was handed over to the Crittenden County Coroner for further procedures.

On social media, critics expressed outrage at individuals who shared videos of the fire before the families of the deceased were notified. However, some family members of the victims also commended the valiant efforts of the WMFD in their ill-fated rescue mission in which entire department rallied together, dedicating all available on-duty firefighters to the tragic event.

See FIRE, page A2

An amateur video shot by a passerby shows the extent of the fire before first responders were notified.

via Instagram FIRE

From page A1

“West Memphis Fire, you guys were amazing that day!” said Kallie Turbo, daughterin- law of George and Becky, “I cannot thank you enough for everything y’all did. Those re ghters went above and beyond that day and I don’t think we will ever repay you for the kindness you showed our family in the hardest time of our lives.”

The Turnbos’ son, Jason, spoke highly of his parents, emphasizing their generous and kind nature, a sentiment echoed by their neighbors. In a heartfelt moment, he revealed that his father’s Vietnam War uniform, Bible, and wartime letters were salvaged from the re, preserving a precious part of his father’s heritage. The Turnbo family was held in high esteem by their community, with both neighbors and their son remembering them fondly as devoted and sel_ess individuals. George and his wife Becky had lived at the residence for 35 years and been married for over 50.

Thankfully, no other civilians or reghters sustained injuries during the re incident. The cause of the re remains under investigation by the WMFD Fire Marshal’s Division.

The West Memphis Fire Department put out a press release in which they solemnly extended their deepest condolences to the grieving family of the victims during this difcult time.

George and Becky Turnbo

Every firefighter on duty responded to the tragic early morning fire.

Photo by Zeke Terry


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