Thursday, December 14, 2017
Public safety

Man killed in Odessa mobile home fire was retired New York officer

ODESSA — After years investigating crimes as a New York City police detective and spending some of his retirement in Long Island, James Mongan decided with his wife to make a new life in Florida.

Mongan and his wife, Paulet, picked the Silver Dollar Golf and Trap Club community, a sprawling neighborhood of tidy mobile homes in Hillsborough County. He loved to shoot trap at the neighborhood range, a short golf cart ride from the couple's doublewide home on Golf Vista Court.

The Mongans were home early Monday when a fire broke out, authorities said. Paulet was able to escape but Mongan, 79, died inside. The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office released their names Wednesday.

Paulet, a 64-year-old retired registered nurse, suffered smoke inhalation and is recovering, said the couple's son, James Mongan Jr.

"I can't imagine how she must feel," he said. "She says she's okay, but I don't know. It's a horrible circumstance to have been through."

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews arrived at the couple's home about 5:40 a.m. and found it engulfed in flames. Paulet Mongan, 64, had fled to a neighbor's house and was rushed to the hospital.

Neighbors told the Times that they heard Paulet screaming for help because her husband was still inside the home. Fire crews put out the fire and found his body inside.

Investigators said Wednesday the fire appears to have been started by candles left burning after the couple went to sleep. The final cause of the fire, however, remains under investigation.

The Mongans had smoke alarms in their home but they never sounded. That is also being investigated.

Born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants, James Mongan grew up poor, his son said. He started as a patrolman for the New York City Police Department and worked his way up to detective.

After he retired, he and Paulet moved to Long Island and then to Florida about 18 years ago. He has sisters here and a friend of his knew about the Silver Dollar community, his son said.

He was an avid reader, attended a nearby Catholic church regularly and enjoyed spending time with his fellow Knights of Columbus. He used a walker and sometimes a motorized wheelchair, his son said.

He leaves behind three children.

"He was a devoted father," James Jr. said.

Times staff writer Anastasia Dawson contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

Comments
Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

Horrified friends watch screaming woman driven to her death in Plant City

PLANT CITY — Jonathon Adams heard a scream, "like a dog getting run over by a car," then saw a mini-van come tearing around the corner with a woman he knew dangling out of the passenger seat.It was the start of deadly sequence of events Dec. 8 that P...
Updated: 9 minutes ago

Second Ruskin man sought in theft of cell tower equipment that interrupted service

TAMPA —The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has obtained a warrant for the arrest of a second suspect in the theft of batteries from cell phone towers that interrupted phone service and the 911 emergency call system.Investigators are looking for ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

Florida Missing Child Alert canceled for Jacksonville boy, 2

A Jacksonville boy, 2, who was reported missing early Thursday morning, has been found safe.A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for Legend Jones, who had last been seen in the 1900 block of Fouraker Road in Jacksonville, according to the ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Palm Harbor woman, 23, killed while crossing Seminole Boulevard

SEMINOLE — A Palm Harbor woman was killed Thursday night after she was struck by an SUV while crossing Seminole Boulevard.The incident occurred around 8:45 p.m. just north of 53rd Avenue N, deputies said.According to deputies, 23-year-old Kala Gombos...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Crash downs power lines, closes N Florida Avenue in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — A portion of North Florida Avenue is closed in downtown Tampa as TECO crews repair downed power lines after a crash late Wednesday night.The crash occurred around 11:35 p.m. at the intersection of N Florida Avenue and E Fortune Street, accord...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Officials applaud shark-dragging arrests, hopeful for stricter animal cruelty penalties

Officials applaud shark-dragging arrests, hopeful for stricter animal cruelty penalties

TAMPA — A viral video drew anger and outrage after it showed a flailing shark tethered to a boat, and three men laughing as its lifeless body thrashed in the waters behind them.In the video, which surfaced on social media in July, the men — Michael W...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force (w/video)

Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force (w/video)

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has suspended two deputies after an internal investigation found they violated agency policies during the arrest of a 25-year-old man that turned violent.The sheriff handed down 15 days to Deputy Alexander Edge, who Gua...
Updated: 4 hours ago
St. Petersburg police arrest Bob's Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

St. Petersburg police arrest Bob's Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested several people, including a son of a prominent flooring store chain’s late founder, as part of an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in an alley last year. The w...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Lost cell signal recently? The culprit could be a 40-year-old Ruskin man who deputies said stole thousands of dollars worth of the equipment that powers cell towers. The theft interrupted cell tower signals on at least two occasions, deputies said, i...
Published: 12/13/17
St. Petersburg police sergeant demoted after throwing bullet at fellow officer

St. Petersburg police sergeant demoted after throwing bullet at fellow officer

ST. PETERSBURG — A long-tenured St. Petersburg police sergeant and executive vice president of the local police union is being demoted to the rank of officer after he threw a bullet at another sergeant while on duty, the department said Wednesday.Jam...
Published: 12/13/17