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Aspiring State Trooper, 25, Killed By Backyard Bonfire Explosion In Mullica Township

James Davis III with his wife, Nicole, and their daughter, Elliana.
James Davis III with his wife, Nicole, and their daughter, Elliana. Photo Credit: GoFundMe

An aspiring Florida state trooper died four days after catching fire at a backyard bonfire in Atlantic County. 

James Nelson Davis III, 25, was airlifted to Temple Hospital's Burn Center in Philadelphia on Christmas night with burns over 90 percent of his body, previously reported. He died the night of Dec. 29.

Mullica Township Police Chief Brian Zeck told NJ Advance Media that Davis used a gas can to re-ignite the flame and it exploded. The fire has been ruled accidental, the chief said.

Most recently, Davis worked as a corrections officer. He was accepted into the Florida Highway Patrol State Trooper program and would have started his training this month, according to his obituary.

Davis enjoyed many hobbies including skateboarding, going to the beach, hiking, spending time outdoors, listening to his favorite podcasts and music, tactical gear, building and shooting his guns, being with friends and family. 

"James loved his wife and daughter more than anything and was a wonderful husband and father. He was very proud of his family and adored them. James excelled at everything he did and was an amazing person that everyone loved," his obituary said.

James is survived by his lwife, Nicole Davis, their 1-year-old daughter, Elliana, his parents James Davis Jr. and Jeanne Marie Davis (nee Nolan), brothers Cameron Davis (Elizabeth) and Dominick Davis; father-in-law Bill Smith and mother-in-law Jeanine Smith; brothers-in-law, Stephen Fisk (Dominique), Michael Fisk (Paige), Tyler Smith; many nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles; his paternal grandmother, Nancy Davis, and many friends, including Colton Vantine, Parker Brignolo, and his best friend, Nick Maurais.

Visitation will be Saturday, Jan. 14, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Boakes Funeral Home, 6050 Main St., Mays Landing, with reflections at 4 p.m.

Loved ones are continuing to raise money the family on GoFundMe.

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