Body found in southeast Houston house fire

March 10, 2012 8:10:56 PM PST
A person was found dead in a house fire overnight, and both arson and homicide investigators are trying to determine what happened.

The wood-frame house on Dismuke near Eskridge caught fire just after 9pm Friday.

By the time firefighters got got there, the home was already engulfed in flames.

Inside, they found a body.

Officials believe the home had been vacant for years. Neighbors said it was even boarded up, but it was common for homeless people to seek shelter there.

"If only we kicked the door open and actually seen if there was anybody in trouble," neighbor Yvonne San Miguel said.

San Miguel said it's hard to erase from her mind that someone was found dead inside the vacant house across the street.

The 24-year-old said the flames were frightening.

"I seen flames like burning red through the window, and I was like, 'oh my gosh,'" she said.

Yvonne San Miguel said she and other family members called 911. Her uncle, Randy San Miguel, captured cell phone video as help arrived.

The entire family watched as firefighters battled the blaze at the boarded-up home, and then an unidentified person was found dead inside the home.

"They said possibly a homeless guy in there," Yvonne San Miguel said.

"Whoever got caught in the fire was leaning against the door like he was trying to get out," Randy San Miguel said.

Neighbors said it was common for homeless people to seek shelter there. One neighbor even told us she saw someone go inside last night.

Yvonne San Miguel said that, looking back, she wishes she had known that.

"Knowing that there was somebody in there and we didn't get to do anything," she said. "It's just heartbreaking."

The victim's age, gender and race are not known at this time. An autopsy is pending.

The cause of the fire is also unknown.

Please stay with Eyewitness News and as we continue to follow this story.