Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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

A man who died in a fire at an Odessa mobile home park Monday morning has been identified as James Mongan, 79. His wife Paulet,  64, escaped with serious injuries. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]

A man who died in a fire at an Odessa mobile home park Monday morning has been identified as James Mongan, 79. His wife Paulet, 64, escaped with serious injuries. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]

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 tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

Man killed in Odessa mobile home fire was retired New York officer 11/30/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 2:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101