Neighbors tried unsuccessfully to save the victim. His body was found later by firefighters, burned so badly they have not yet been able to positively identify him.
"I was right there. I couldn't get too much closer," said neighbor Jerry Aguilar.
He remembers the flames there on Christmas night.
"I realized it was too late, but I tried to yell for him. It was too late," Aguilar said.
He says the flames were too high and too hot for him to try and save his neighbor who lived in this travel trailer for years just outside of Needville.
"There was nothing I could do. I wanted to. It hurts," said Aguilar, choking back tears. "There was nothing that I could do."
Fire marshal's investigators spent part of Wednesday morning sifting through what's left of the trailer, looking for clues as to what ignited the fire. They can't say for sure yet what might have sparked it.
Eyewitnesses report hearing either several small explosions or gunfire. The victim was known to be a gun enthusiast and may have had ammunition inside. But he was also well liked in this small, tight-knight rural community. A welder by trade, they say he was always willing to help.
"They say things happen; I wish it wouldn't have happened to him," Aguilar said.
Authorities have not yet identified the victim because they haven't yet located his next of kin. Neighbors say he'd lived here in this travel trailer for close to a decade, maybe longer.