SMITH MILLS, Ky (WEHT) The Henderson County Coroner has confirmed one person has died after a hunting club caught on fire. We’re told Robert Louis Delaby, 50, died in the fire.

The fire broke out around 5:30 a.m. at Gumz Hunt Club off off Martin-Martin Road near Soaper-Crowder Road.

“It woke me up when all the fire trucks started coming through,” said Dennis Majors, who lives down the road from the hunt club. He and his family couldn’t see the fire itself through the woods at the hunt club, but they could see the response.

“When you were looking this way, you could see the lights of the fire trucks. You couldn’t see no flames or anything and it made me wonder what was going on,” said Norma Majors, describing the firefighters response.

Smith Mills Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Coghill says when they arrived, there was a lot of smoke and some flames coming out of the building. They were able to put the fire out in about an hour, but stayed on scene much longer. At least three other fire departments arrived to help.

“I’d say the fire was probably under control within an hour, but with the way this was constructed, we had a lot of hot spots, stuff like that, built on, high ceilings,” he said.

He also says the county road department had to be called in to help firefighters get to hot spots and clear area out.

According to the U.S. Fire Association, this makes it the 3rd fatal fire in Henderson County this year. One person died in a fire on Powell Street in Henderson in late June, another earlier this month on Bluff City Road in Hebbardsville. Coghill says other people staying at a club lodge smelled smoke, and told the ownerM who called 911.

Delaby’s body was found right inside the front door of the building. 

An autopsy was completed in Madisonville. No official cause of death has been released so far. Pathology and toxicology tests are still being conducted.

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(This story was originally published on December 17, 2020)