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Man Killed in Explosion Was Helpful and Kind

TEMPLE, Okla_The quiet community of Temple was rocked Tuesday afternoon when a home of a beloved neighbor suddenly exploded.

The man who lived in the house has been identified as 65 year old Robert Eugene Barnes.

Cotton County Undersheriff David Johnston said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. He is working with both the Medical Examiner and the State Fire Marshal to determine the cause of death, but at this time says there are still lots of unanswered questions.

His name was Robert, but few knew him by that name. In fact, few knew his real name at all. He went by the nick name "Goober" and as evidenced by the flowers and the many who came to pay their respects, he was a beloved member of the community.

Jim Webster never thought Monday night would be the last time he saw his friend.

"We sat there about half an hour. Talkin'. It's one of them conversations where you talk and you don't say nothin', " said Webster.

Jim looked in on Goober from time to time and was concerned if he was staying warm.

He was getting ready to walk down to see him when the unimaginable happened.

"All of a sudden the house moved, and the floor moved. It's an old junky house, and so it's 15 feet from the front door, so I walked 15 feet, opened the door, stepped out on the porch and that house down there it wasn't just smoking I mean it was fully, big fireball, " Webster said.

It took mere seconds for the roof and walls of the house to cave in.

"It was just so immediate. But that explosion was just so violent. I mean a violent explosion, " Webster explained.

Deniece Welch is another neighbor. She works at the Hop-n-Sack where Goober would visit every day.

"I went to the door and it was fully engulfed in flames, and then I saw his truck and I was so terrified he was in the house, " Welch said.

She knew him for almost ten years, and said he loved his coffee and was always quick to help.

"Real sweet. Would help anyone out. Any neighbor, anyone in town, he would devote himself to whatever they needed. He would be there, "Welch explained.

She and the other employees said they can already feel the void Goober left behind.

"It is different. We always make jokes about the way he drives because he would drive so slow, and we'd get behind him and we'd want to honk and tell him to get out of the way, and we're not gonna be able to do that anymore, " said Welch.

Jim Webster said everyone in town either knew Goober or at the very least knew who he was.

Neighbors say he didn't smoke, he didn't drink, he was just a good man who made the town a better place.

"I just think it's a tragedy, and he will be missed," Welch said.

Other witnesses said when the explosion happened a fireball could be seen in the sky as far away as Walters. They said the whole town is in shock.

The State Fire Marshal has not given a final word on when the cause of the explosion will be determined.

Talking with neighbors, they said the house had no running water or electricity, and he had been heating his home using a propane tank.

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