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FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
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Oak Grove-Thach Fire Chief Marlon Bradley blocks a spray of water coming down from a hose on the roof of an East Limestone County house. Firefighters responded for a second time to Christie Drive to put out burning remains of a fire from earlier that morning. A Madison man allegedly set his ex-wife's home on fire and fatally shot himself on the back porch, the sheriff says. The ex-wife was not home at the time.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Oak Grove-Thach Fire Chief Marlon Bradley blocks a spray of water coming down from a hose on the roof of an East Limestone County house. Firefighters responded for a second time to Christie Drive to put out burning remains of a fire from earlier that morning. A Madison man allegedly set his ex-wife's home on fire and fatally shot himself on the back porch, the sheriff says. The ex-wife was not home at the time.

Man sets ex-wife's Limestone home on fire, then shoots self, sheriff says

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com · 340-2445

THACH — Sheriff Mike Blakely said a Madison man shot his way into his ex-wife's house, set it on fire and then killed himself.

Blakely said that around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, a motorist saw sparks and found a house on fire on Christie Drive off McKee Road in the Thach community, northwest of Athens.

"The motorist tried to open the door, but the door handle was hot," Blakely said.

Volunteer firefighters from Oak Grove-Thach and East Limestone departments responded.

Remains from a house fire on Christie Drive flare up again Thursday in the Thach community. Sheriff Mike Blakely said a man was shooting as he entered his ex-wife's house and set the house on fire. He then killed himself.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Remains from a house fire on Christie Drive flare up again Thursday in the Thach community. Sheriff Mike Blakely said a man was shooting as he entered his ex-wife’s house and set the house on fire. He then killed himself.
"It was engulfed," said Oak Grove-Thach firefighter Darrell Blankenship. "The fire destroyed the house."

Blankenship said the state fire marshal's office is investigating.

Blakely and Coroner Mike West said when firefighters went to the back of the house to spray water, they found a body on the back porch.

Blakely identified the man as 55-year-old Thomas Duff Short.

The sheriff said the house belonged to Short's ex-wife, who was not home. She was with their children at her sister's house, he said.

She and Short have been divorced about a year, West said.

"She had changed the locks," Blakely said. "He shot his way in at the back door."

Once inside, Short started a fire in the hallway, Blakely said. The sheriff did not know what Short used to start the flames.

Blankenship said that still is under investigation.

"After he got the fire started, he went outside and shot himself," Blakely said.

"He still had extra shells in his pocket."

West said the shotgun blast struck Short in the chest.

West sent the body for an autopsy.

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