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Man killed in Georgia fire with wife was Vietnam War special forces veteran

CHRISTOPHER S. MUNCY/U.S. AIR NATIONAL GUARD

By WAYNE CRENSHAW | The Macon Telegraph | Published: August 18, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — A man who died in a house fire with his wife in Georgia on Saturday was a U.S. Army Special Forces veteran of the Vietnam War who attended a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House in 2017.

Morris Adair, 87, and his wife, Virginia, 91, died in the blaze at their home on Strickland Loop in Monroe County.

A Monroe County Emergency Services Facebook post stated that a neighbor called about the fire.

“First arriving firefighters found a home almost completely in flames, including the grass and cars around it,” the post stated. “It was known to firefighters that an elderly couple lived in the home, and every attempt to locate them was made. Despite heavy smoke and heat, the residents were found through the use of a thermal imaging camera and were removed.”

Morris Adair, a retired sergeant major, went to the White House on Oct. 23, 2017, to see a comrade from Vietnam awarded the Medal of Honor. Army Capt. Gary Michael “Mike” Rose received the nation’s highest medal from President Donald Trump for actions while serving as special forces medic in Operation Tailwind.

Adair was injured in the fighting and was among those Rose treated.

“There were some people involved, definitely, who would not have come back without his medical attention,” Adair told The Telegraph after returning from the ceremony. “If it hadn’t been for Rose, they never would have lived.”

Adair said he shook Trump’s hand at the ceremony and was excited to see Rose get the medal.

Jim Caneup lives across the street from Adair and would sometimes talk to him, although he said he never met Adair’s wife. He said Adair seemed to be in good health.

“He was just a sweetheart of a guy,” he said.

He said the Adairs had built their home just two or three years ago. Caneup said he lives in a well insulated house and never heard anything Saturday night. He didn’t find out about it until he got a phone call from his daughter, who had heard there was a fire on the road and wanted to check on him.

“We were just shocked,” Caneup said. “It blew me away when I heard about it.”

The bodies have been taken to the crime lab to confirm the cause of death.

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©2019 The Macon Telegraph (Macon, Ga.)
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