Pastor Eugene Keahey has been identified as one of the victims who died Thursday in a house fire that officials believed was set intentionally.
Dallas News reports that while his wife and one of his daughters lost their lives as well, another one of his daughters is currently hospitalized and is being treated for injuries related to the suspicious fire.
Pastor Eugene Keahey, a former youth pastor at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, most recently pastored at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Seagoville, Texas. He also ran a non-profit that was committed to providing the impoverished community of Sandbranch something it hadn’t had in decades—running water.
“In a city where there was no attention being brought to, he changed that,” said Trisha Allen, a family friend. “He changed Sandbranch.”
“We often talk about how our faith has to go beyond the four walls of our churches, and we shouldn’t just be praising God on Sunday mornings, and Monday through Saturday we go on about our lives,” said Dawn Miller, who was a friend of the family for the past 15 years. “He lived that. He walked out his faith.”
Yet despite the family’s unselfish efforts to uplift their community, CBS 11 reports that they were crippled by severe financial struggles of their own—their home had been sold at a foreclosure auction just last month.
Authorities have yet to unveil why they believe the fire was intentionally set, but neighbors told KXAS-TV that they heard what sounded like gunfire prior to the fire starting.
“I just wish all will withhold judgment, and allow the investigation to happen the way that it should,” Miller said.