Man Killed in Fire: Family Fears it's Minister

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

Family members and friends were visibly shaken hours after learning their loved one and minister may have been killed in a fire.

"A Friday afternoon home from work, then you wake up and somebody says we need to go to Miccosukee, and you come out here and find out that one of your dear, closest friends has lost his life right in his own backyard and that's a hard feeling and I just can't explain the way I feel right now," said Robert Johnson, minister of St. Paul Primitive Baptist Church.

The fire department arrived around two Friday afternoon after reports of heavy smoke. When they got here they found a controlled burn. Then feet away was another fire from a man clearing land in his backyard.

"He had a shovel, a rake, seemed to have everything under control. They told him to please be careful due to some dry conditions. He seemed to have everything under control, was working fine," said SGT Tim Baxter with the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

But shortly after fire officials left, things weren't fine. Within the hour, someone overseeing the controlled burn discovered a body.

Family members believe it’s that of John Black, a minister, a husband and a father.

"They are really gonna miss their father," said Johnson. "That's their hero and there's one thing everybody will remember him by is his handshake. When he shakes, he shakes like a man and lets you know he's a man."

Johnson who's known the minister his whole life says he expects church services on Sunday to be extremely difficult for the congregation.

The ministers rotate doing sermons each week. Last week was Black's turn. There’s n doubt he'll be sorely missed by everyone in his community.


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