Nassau Bay house fire claims life of retired firefighter

NASSAU BAY, TX (KTRK) -- A house fire in Nassau Bay claimed the life of a retired firefighter on Saturday. His wife was able to escape the blaze with minor injuries.

Nassau Bay firefighters were called out to the house on Saxony Lane at about 10:15am. Minutes later, first units arrived to find fire and smoke coming from the one-story house.

Roy Matiya, 74, served with the department for several years. He retired in December and recently underwent a medical procedure. He was resting inside and was unable to walk.

The fire marshal said Matiya's wife, Karen, saw a fire spark near a chair were her husband was sitting. He said she tried to put the fire out, but was unable to. The fire grew fast.

The flames were seen shooting into the air along with black smoke. The fire chief said Matiya's wife had to make the difficult decision to leave him in order to save her own life. But the chief said she tried to go back in but firefighters would not let her.

According to the fire chief Matiya was like a father figure. In fact, some of the firefighters came here just yesterday to check up on him.

"He was always there when you needed something. He'd be the runner to go get it. He enjoyed very much being a part of something and giving back to the community. That's what he wanted to do. He specifically told me from the get-go," said Nassau Bay Fire Chief Tom George.

The fire is still under investigation. But the fire marshal said it's extremely helpful for him that Matiya's wife saw the fire start. Matiya is from the Chicago area. The chief said this was his first firefighter job.

Webster, Seabrook and Forest Bend Fire Departments were called in to help battle the blaze.

Read more from The Bay Area Citizen, a Houston Community Newspaper partner
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