HOUSTON – A boarded-up house in the Heights went up in flames Friday morning, and a Harris County deputy spotted it just in time.

The fire happened on Fraiser Street near White Oak.

During the mist of all, Houston firefighters worked to salvage what they could of the boarded-up home, surrounded by smoke and graffiti.

It's some neighbors refer to as the “problem house.”

“I guess it's kind of known to be a drug house,” said Joseph Cohen, who lives next door.

They said it is also a place allegedly frequented by squatters.

“I would see a few folks coming in and out from a tent encampment nearby.” said Christy Serrano.

Serrano moved here a few months ago. Since then she's seen a lot of foot traffic at the abandoned place that KHOU 11 News learned is in probate.

She's just grateful the fire didn't spread.

“It could have been a lot worse, I know that one of the constables saw the fire first, and got here first, so grateful that happened,” she said.

That Harris County deputy constable is Scott Forbes.

Forbes said he was on his way to work, when he noticed the smoke. A 13-year veteran of the force, he knew what that meant.

“Black smoke means there's not water on the fire,” said Forbes.

Forbes stopped and called it in just in time.

“Just doing my job, that's all it is. That's what we get paid to do, protect and serve,” he said.

It was a relief for residents, who watched on as they began their Friday morning.

Arson investigators say because of the several issues surrounding the home, they're working to get the whole story.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.