Neighbors mourn the loss of 89-year-old man killed in S. Houston fire


by Marcelino Benito / KHOU 11 News

Posted on March 9, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 9 at 6:21 PM

HOUSTON – Heartache ripped through a south Houston neighborhood early Sunday morning. A grandson pulled up to find a fire raging, and his grandfather was trapped inside.

“It was just indescribable, the thought of someone being there, being inside,” said Carol, the victim’s neighbor.

Neighbors caught the dramatic blaze on their cell phones. By the time firefighters showed up, the flames had engulfed ¾ of the tiny home on Seabrook Street.

“It was burning really bad man,” said Jerome Rogers. “Really bad. The flames were so high the smoke was so thick.”

The fire was so intense, firefighters said the flames burnt their hose, their gear and the roof was falling in on them. Firefighters weren’t able to get to the man in time. They found him in the back of the house. Neighbors said he was set to turn 90-years-old this week. Family and friends in disbelief could only comfort each other.

“The most heart-wrenching thing was when his grandson discovered he was in there,” said Rogers. “He just collapsed man, he just collapsed. It was heart-wrenching to see him.”

Paramedics briefly treated the victim’s grandson after he collapsed. As firefighters worked for hours to quell still burning hotspots, heavy winds made it difficult to get the fire under control.

“These guys really put in an extra effort,” said HFD District Chief Fred Hooker. “Unfortunately, it didn’t come out our way.”

Arson investigators and HPD Homicide detectives were called in to sift through the charred burnt rubble. They want to try and piece together what happened before that blaze erupted.

“It was just horrible,” said Rogers. “Everybody around here was in tears. It was unbelievable.”

Neighbors said the man went by Mr. Jackson, but officials have not officially released his identity. The cause of the fire and the man’s cause of death remain under investigation.