Harris County man killed in house fire

December 24, 2011 2:49:54 PM PST
A local woman will spend this Christmas without her father. He died in a house fire overnight in north Harris County.

This was not the Christmas Eve that Connie Brandt imagined.

Her gift bags, cards and bows are still stacked on her sofa, but they are now soaked under pieces of her burned roof.

Flames chewed away Brandt's one-story home on Fox Mar near Fox Glen in north Harris County around 9pm Friday. By the time firefighters arrived, the house was entirely engulfed in flames.

"All my furniture, clothes. Matter of fact, I had to borrow some [clothes] because I didn't have anything," Brandt said.

But Brandt lost more in this fire -- something irreplaceable.

"I don't know what else to say, but [I'm] just going to miss him," she said.

Firefighters found Brandt's 91-year-old father, David Lee Tadlock, dead in his bed.

"This was my dad's room. His bed was right here," she said.

She thinks the smoke got to him in his sleep.

"They said he looked peaceful. One of my little dogs was lying with him," Brandt said.

Brandt was her father's caretaker. She says he was on oxygen, and wouldn't have been able to save himself. Neighbors rushed to save him, but they could not.

"I came outside and there were just flames coming out the front window and I called 9-1-1," neighbor Adam Gloria said.

Brandt had just left the house to pick up some last minute Christmas gifts, but now Christmas is canceled.

"I had told him earlier when I left that I'd be right back. He said, 'OK,'" Brandt said. "There's nothing to save. Not a darn thing."

Neighbors who called Tadlock a long-standing figure of the community are mourning with Brandt's family.

"When I think about it, I'm like, I wish it would've been me because he was elderly, and to see his daughter [who] lost everything, including her father makes me feel real sad," neighbor Valencia Trishell said. "My heart goes out to the family."

"He was a great friend, neighbor, grandfather, father. He loved everybody," Brandt said.

The only thing left is a mystery: how this fire started.

The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office is working to figure out what sparked the blaze.

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