The Collin County Sheriff has confirmed that Deputy Richard Fields and his wife, Rebecca, died in a fire at their rural Fannin County home early Sunday morning.
Investigators suspect lightning as a cause for the fire that broke out shortly after 2 a.m near the town of Ladonia, 90 miles northeast of Dallas.
Fields and his wife of 38 years were both killed.
A historic church in nearby Honey Grove burned to the ground overnight; church officials believe lightning is to blame for that fire as well.
Fields, 58, had worked for the sheriff’s department for more than 15 years, and was most recently assigned as a resource officer for the juvenile detention center.
"He was a very friendly guy; hard-working, reliable, and dependable as could be," Sheriff Terry Box told WFAA. "Everybody loved him."
Tax records show the Fields lived in a 3,000 square foot residence that was built in 1930. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Fields was an unsuccessful candidate in the Republican primary election for Fannin County Sheriff last year. He told the McKinney Courier-Gazette after his candidacy that his childhood inspired him to enter law enforcement.
“I came from an abusive, alcoholic home,” Fields told the newspaper in 2011. “When the police came to deal with my father, they always allowed him to keep whatever respect he had left. They inspired me to want to go into law enforcement. Law officers have always been my heroes.”
Funeral arrangements for the Fields are pending.