Grayson man dies in fire

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By Ben Bomberger, Reporter

WHITETOP — A Whitetop man died after a fire broke out in his home early Wednesday morning.

Grayson Sheriff Richard Vaughan said Herman Dean Rupard, 70, of 15971 Highlands Parkway, was found deceased in his home after neighbors spotted flames underneath his mobile home.

Vaughan said the power went off in the Whitetop community about 10 p.m. Tuesday night, and Rupard had apparently retrieved a kerosene heater to warm his home.

Investigators believe Rupard put some fuel in the heater — spilling some near where it stood — and then went back to bed.

Around 2 a.m. a neighbor, who also serves on the Mount Rogers Fire Department, looked outside and saw flames coming from underneath Rupard's mobile home.

Vaughan said the neighbor and fire department members responded quickly and gained access to the home, but found Rupard deceased in the bathroom area of his house.

Early indication is that Rupard died from smoke inhalation and Vaughan said his body was sent to the state medical examiner's office in Roanoke for an autopsy.