Man found dead in debris one day after house fire in NW Harris County

The Harris Co. fire marshal says a man was found dead in this northwest Harris County house one day after a blaze.
December 26, 2012 3:20:52 PM PST
A man was found dead inside his burned-out home by his family members one day after firefighters left the scene.

The fire broke out Christmas morning at the northwest Harris County home. Crews worked hard to keep it from spreading, and they say they were unable to find anyone inside afterwards. But on Wednesday morning, the homeowner's two brothers returned to the home on Loch Bend near Hilton View and made the disturbing discovery.

A neighbor called 911 Tuesday morning after seeing smoke coming from the home. Twenty firefighters with the Northwest Volunteer Fire Department responded and say they found the fire contained to the back bedroom. We're told that inside the home there was furniture and other belongings stacked up to the point where firefighters could barely move around inside.

After putting out the blaze, firefighters searched twice for victims, then left assuming no one was home. They say they were unable to reach the homeowner or any family members.

Then on Wednesday morning, the owner's brothers came by the home and smelled a horrible odor. They say they found their brother dead under three to six feet of debris in the back bedroom where the fire started.

No word at this point on how the victim, who is between 20 to 30 years of age died, but the fire marshal believes he may have been overcome by smoke and the roof collapsed on top of him.

"I have explained it to them, as to the conditions inside the house and the reason why potentially the victim would not have been found yesterday," said "I do believe at this time that no matter if the fire department would have found the victim yesterday or not, the victim was probably deceased prior to the fire department arriving."

Arson investigators are looking into how the fire started.

The fire chief of the Northwest Volunteer Fire Department says they will not be reviewing any of their procedures because he says they did follow protocol, and that this was a tragic story.


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