Man killed in Phoenix fire was longtime Crescent Crown employee

Posted 4/26/20

Maricopa County records and social media posts identify a homeowner who was killed in a fire over the weekend.

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Man killed in Phoenix fire was longtime Crescent Crown employee


Maricopa County records and social media posts identify a homeowner who was killed in a fire over the weekend.

According to the Maricopa County Assessor's website, Eugene Walter Geckler Jr. was the owner of a home that caught fire Saturday night north of Union Hills Drive and 43rd Avenue.

Several social media posts and a GoFundMe also identify Mr. Geckler as the man who died in the house fire.

"It has been a heart wrenching time for all of us," his father Gene Geckler Sr. stated in an email.

The GoFundMe has raised over $11,000 as of Wednesday.

"Gene was a man who put everyone before himself, always taking the second to ask, 'Do you need anything?'" the Geckler family stated on the GoFundMe page. "He was truly an Angel walking amongst us and will be dearly missed everyday."

According to his Facebook profile, Mr. Geckler was a venue specialist at Crescent Crown Distributing, with locations in Mesa and Surprise.

He was "The Ultimate Beer Man," working in CCD's venue and special events department since the early 1990s, according to a letter from Terry Morrison, vice president of National Accounts at CCD.

"For years he has been the face of Crescent Crown with our largest Sporting and Music Venues as well as with our Professional Sports partners," Mr. Morrison stated. "Gene was considered by many as 'The Mayor' and a friend to all of those he encountered.... Since 2004 with Crescent Crown, in addition to numerous accolades by customers, Gene was recognized multiple times as a Most Valuable Player. Gene was also selected as a CCD Service Master consistently by his peers and twice honored as Employee of the Year."

In the letter, Mr. Morrison states Mr. Geckler epitomized the spirit of kindness, genuinely cared about people, and always put others ahead of himself.

"Gene’s actions personified hospitality and his positive attitude gave you the feeling that he never had a bad day," Mr. Morrison stated. "You could just feel the love he held for coworkers, customers, friends, family, and people in general. Gene could make anyone’s day better with his infectious smile and an enthusiastic hello."

Anyone who wants to send condolences to Mr. Geckler's family's can mail them to Crescent Crown Distributing, 1640 W. Broadway, Mesa, AZ 85202.

Arrest made in Phoenix fire

Police in Phoenix arrested Jamie Lynne Fillmore, 35, on charges of endangerment, criminal damage and reckless burning stemming from the fatal fire.

Responding authorities said the fire started outside the home and extended inside. Crews made an aggressive attack to stop it.

First responders learned the homeowner was found dead inside of the house as a result of the fire. At least one post mentions that the homeowner's dog also died in the fire.

Police learned Ms. Fillmore lived on the exterior southwest side of the home. She was contacted the next day and reportedly admitted to being responsible for the fire by not extinguishing a propane torch fully and placing it next to her futon that was next to the house, records state. She had been using it to smoke drugs for about 10 minutes, records state.

Ms. Fillmore told police the homeowner was "creeping on" her and she became upset with the homeowner. She then knocked down a trash can and left the area.

Around 11 a.m. Sunday, a neighbor spotted Ms. Fillmore and contacted police. She was taken into custody just before noon.

Records state the fire extended into the living area that caused heavy fire and smoke damage.

Ms. Fillmore was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond with a court date May 4.