Ethan Dennis, 78, of Eldorado, died Wednesday evening, September 8, 2021, a week after being seriously burned in a grass fire near his home on September 1st.

Dennis was taken by AirMed1 helicopter from the scene of the fire to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo where he was stabilized before being transferred, again by helicopter, to the burn unit in Lubbock.

Investigators said later that Dennis had been burning brush piles on his property, located some 10 miles north of Eldorado on Schleicher County Road 312. It is unknown, however, if the grass fire started from one of those piles, or from across the fence line where a neighbor had burned brush the day before.

Eldorado volunteer firefighters were battling the grass fire in hopes of stopping it from spreading when they noticed Dennis’ pickup near the edge of the burned area. He was found unconscious on the ground near his pickup. He had suffered burns to his face and torso.

Jacob Swindle, who lives nearby, found Dennis and called for assistance. Schleicher County EMS volunteers responded and immediately called for the AirMed1 helicopter.

Sheriff Jason Chatham and Assistant Fire Chief T.J. Rodriguez went to the scene of the fire the following day in hopes of determining what occurred.

They learned that the tailgate was down on Dennis’ pickup with a container of gasoline and matches in the bed of the truck.

Oddly, they also determined that Dennis’ shoes had been removed before help arrived.

Chatham and Rodriguez were hoping Dennis would recover sufficiently to tell them exactly how his burns occurred. Sadly, he passed away before that conversation could happen.