GALVESTON — A house fire on the coldest night of the season claimed the life of a duplex resident, but his wife escaped the blaze with minor injuries, fire officials and neighbors said.

City officials didn't release the name of the man found dead Monday night in the two-story house in the 2400 block of Avenue P ½.

The man's upstairs neighbors, however, said they escaped the blaze with his wife, who was treated as a precaution for smoke inhalation.

"I initially smelled something burning, and I left out of my room to get my son," upstairs resident Loraine Whitaker said. "That's when he told me to leave."

Whitaker's son saw the smoke coming into their residence.

"He ran down the steps," Whitaker said, "got the lady from downstairs out. She was trying to get her out of her house, and he got her out."

Firefighters received the call at 9:20 p.m., and the first crew responded within three minutes. They arrived to find heavy smoke and flames spreading to the second floor, said Elizabeth Rogers, a spokeswoman for the city of Galveston.

"They pulled out to regroup and called in a second alarm," Rogers said. "The second alarm crew showed up. They entered the house. They were able to access the room where the fire originated, and they confirmed one fatality."

Officials didn't immediately know how many residents were displaced from the fire.

Although temperatures dipped into the middle to lower 40s on the island, the cause of the fire and where it started remained under investigation late Monday night, Galveston assistant fire Chief Mike Wisko said.

Firefighters found heavy fire emitting from the rear of the house on both floors, Wisko said.

Heavy flames caused the firefighters to retreat until they could bring a second water line inside, Wisko said.

They went back in, knocked the fire down and conducted a search at which time they did find one fire victim," Wisko said.

When fire officials called for a second alarm, they also requested assistance from the Texas City Fire Department to bring one engine crew to help cover the island, Wisko said.

Whitaker intended to stay with relatives, including her oldest sister, Patricia Maxiey of Texas City.

It was unclear whether any of the residents' belongings could be salvaged.

"Everything is going to be all right," Whitaker's relative Larry Menifee said. "I don't care how many trials and tribulations you go through. If you believe in God, you can overcome any obstacles."

GALVESTON — Fire fighters battled a house fire late Monday night in which a man was killed, fire department officials said. The fire broke out at about 9:20 p.m. at two-story house in the 2400 block of Avenue P 1/2.

Neighbors said the house had residence in the upstairs and downstairs of the older structure.

When fire crews arrived they found heavy smoke coming through the doors of the house. Firefighters initially made an attack into the house but backed out and worked to douse the flames through an exterior attack before going back inside.

Fire crews were still fighting the fire at 10 p.m. as heavy smoke and flames could be seen coming from the roof of the structure.

City spokesperson Liz Rogers said a woman was being treated for smoke inhalation.

Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds contributed to this report.

(3) comments

PiaStew
PiaStew

Elizabeth*

sverige1
Lars Faltskog

I wonder what the cause was. Xmas lights sparking a dry tree, or some type of electrical "short"? Litten cigarette that ignited a matress while someone fell asleep? Overblown fire from a gas stove while cooking?

Island Bred

A good reminder to check you smoke alarms - or install them if you don't have them. It can make the difference between a joyous holiday and a holiday tragedy.

RIP and condolences to the families and loved ones of the victim.

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