House fire claims life of veteran

Published 12:02 am Thursday, January 24, 2013

Funeral services will be held in Andalusia today for a U.S. veteran whose story captured the hearts of locals last year.

Adolph Briggs Jr., 38, died in a house fire last week at 32808 U.S. Highway 84, The Evergreen Courant reported today.

Adoph Briggs Jr.

Briggs faced charges of domestic violence and arson after a nearly three-hour standoff in Andalusia in June of last year. Afterward, he told The Star-News that intense issues in his marriage and his health led to a nervous breakdown.

After the standoff, it was learned that Briggs was battling depression as a result of a diagnosis of a rare cancer of the appendix and stomach called, “PMP,” or pseudomyxoma peritonei. Statistics show that 1 in 1 million people in the U.S. are affected by the disease.

A number of advocates tried to help him get cancer treatments set up closer to home, and helped him with travel funds.

Briggs told The Star-News he realized that medications prescribed to him, coupled with a lack of therapy and issues related to his cancer, were at the root of his problem. In the interview, he encouraged anyone who was struggling, and especially veterans, to reach out for help.

The cause of the house fire in which he died on Jan. 15, has yet to be determined, but is being investigated by the state fire marshal.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 11:30 p.m. after a passing motorist saw the burning house and called 911, Herbert Fire Chief Larry Harden Harden told The Courant. In all, six Herbert firefighters, four Flat Rock firefighters and two Beat 8 firefighters responded to the fire with two pumpers and a fire engine.

Firefighters remained at the scene until 3:52 a.m.

“It was a bad scene,” Harden said. “The house was fully engulfed when we arrived, and the house was a total loss. A car that was parked at the house also burned.”

Firefighters found Briggs’ body in one of the house’s bedrooms, and the cause of the fire was unknown as of Tuesday, Harden said. The house actually belonged to Briggs’ parents, who were in Ohio at the time of the fire, Harden said.

In his obituary, his family listed his Marine awards, which included the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Certificate of Commendation, and Meritorious Mast and Rifle Marskman Badge.

He is survived by his parents, Adolph Sr. and Shirley Ann Briggs; his daughters, Yasmeen, Ny’Asia and Sha’Kira Briggs; two brothers, Jason D. Briggs of Columbus, Ohio, and James (Jackie) Royster of Evergreen; a sister, Ida Widmann of Colorado Springs; and his grandmother, Ezzie Dell Royster of Evergreen.

Services for Briggs are set for 11 a.m. today, Thurs., Jan. 24, at First Baptist Church Whatley Street.