Maryville (WVLT) -- A Maryville man who survived war and a battle with cancer was killed early Saturday morning when a fire ripped through his trailer on Edna Garland Road.
Maynard Levi Payne would have turned 59 on New Year’s Eve and his family says in spite of the tragic fire, his life will be defined by all his accomplishments.
"He was really a good man,” said Clifford Payne, Maynard’s brother. “Everybody was family and everybody around him loved him to death."
But not even the courageous love of a family member could save Maynard Payne in the early hours of December 1st.
"We did everything we could possibly do to get in there,” said Clifford. “If we could have done anything else, we would."
He went into detail about the hectic scene.
"I came over by the front door and I kicked it in,” he said. “The heat knocked me off the porch."
Maynard's brother and another family member tried several points of entry into the fully engulfed trailer.
Then a relative, Mark Payne, finally got in.
"He ran all the way through the trailer and jumped across the trailer where he usually slept, but he wasn't there,” Clifford said. “He barely made it back out."
Mark suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was treated for burns to his face and other parts of his body.
The family believes Maynard succumbed to smoke inhalation.
His passing leaves a void in not only the Payne family, but also the community.
"Anything I needed or any kind of help I needed, he was there,” Clifford said. “I was always there for him."
According to his family, Maynard served his country and will receive full military honors at burial.
He also put in 25 years of hard work at Alcoa and on top of that, survived a recent bout with cancer.
Those accomplishments live on, in spite of the destructive remains of a place he called home for around three decades.
A place where family and friends share fond memories.
"He kept the freezer full of goodies for the his grand-babies all the time, he loved them to death,” Clifford said. “He kept ice cream, popsicles and all that for them all the time."
For Maynard, family was life with two more grandchildren recently born.
They will never know Maynard, but they will almost certainly know the story of his loving life.
"He really was a really, really good person."
Blount County investigators do not believe the fire is suspicious, but they are still looking for the cause.
An autopsy will be preformed on Monday at UT Medical Center.
Maynard's family plans to make funeral arrangements afterwards through Miller Funeral Home.
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