SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah Fire crews are investigating a fatal house fire on Cottingham Drive in Savannah that took place around 8:00 Thursday morning.
The Savannah Fire Department tweeted that a fatality has been confirmed, but they haven't yet released the identity. They have determined the victim fell asleep while smoking.
We spoke with neighbors as well as a woman who worked with the deceased.
"I am gonna miss him. I'm gonna miss him," Wilma Terry said.
Wilma Terry was very emotional when we spoke with her after the fire. She says she worked for the man who lived there for more than 20 years.
"It's so upsetting just to see the house. Oh my God, it's so upsetting," she said.
Terry says she saw the news and that's how she found out about what happened. She immediately went to the scene.
Savannah Fire responded after neighbors called saying they saw smoke and flames coming from the home.
"I was getting ready this morning and I saw smoke, and I waited a few minutes, and then I saw flames coming from the back of his house," neighbor, Sue Aaron said.
Aaron said immediately after, she heard sirens and that's when she walked outside.
"At that point, everyone was running around the house trying to figure out a way to get in," Aaron said.
When firefighters arrived, they had to force their way through the locked front door. They say the fire was fueled by a jumble of personal items and trash inside of the home. They eventually found the victim in a back bedroom.
"It is sad because we have lost a community member," Aaron said. "He was a quiet man. We never saw anyone visiting him, so I mean, just coming and going."
"He was just a wonderful person. Anyone that knew him, loved him," Terry said.