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Authorities investigating fatal blaze
Firefighters found man in home
1web sawnee fire
Forsyth County Fire Lt. Debbie Lindstrom talks with Cumming Police Chief Casey Tatum and another officer on the back porch of a home where one man was found dead after a fire Friday morning. - photo by Jim Dean (previous profile)


Friends and former co-workers remembered Marcus Junior Sams, a former longtime city of Cumming employee, for his big heart.

“We called him Marc. Everybody around here called him Marc. He was a lot of fun,” said Cumming Administrator Gerald Blackburn. “We had a lot of good times. He had lots of friends with the city.”

Sams, 64, was found dead Friday morning in his burning mobile home off Sawnee Drive.

Forsyth County Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said firefighters discovered Sams as they searched the residence while fighting the flames, which a passing motorist had reported about 8:24 a.m.

Municipal employees could be seen gathered with family members near the charred structure, as investigators worked to determine the cause of the fire.

“We do feel confident that it was not suspicious and that it was accidental,” Shivers said.

Also unknown is what caused Sams’ death.

“He was deceased at the scene, but the exact cause of death is yet to be determined,” Shivers said. “We don’t want to speculate until an autopsy is performed.”

He added that no one else was home at the time. “The only other living creature was his dog, which unfortunately passed away also with him.”

Sams spent 35 years working for the city’s street and utilities departments.

“This is a real tragedy. We’re all sad for his family,” Blackburn said. “He had a twin brother named Jim, and Jim also worked with the city for a while, but not as long as Marc did.”

Jon Heard, director of the city’s utilities department, said Sams was a hard, reliable worker who knew his job well.

“Everyone loved him that worked with him,” Heard said. “And another thing, unlike some employees that move on, Marc would come back and still visit us. He was a well-loved employee.

“He had such a big heart and was concerned about doing a good job.”

Blackburn said Sams had been in his office earlier in the week. He had stopped by just to chat. But that wasn’t unusual for Sams.

“He did more visiting the sick and visiting families at the funeral homes than anybody I know,” Blackburn said. “He was just a real dedicated individual.

“He was always jolly and always coming by wanting to know how you’re doing. He was just a good communicator and he always wanted to know how you were doing. He was just that kind of person.

“He’ll definitely be missed by all his friends at the city of Cumming.”


Online Editor Jim Dean contributed to this report.