Man dies in shed fire

HOUSTON - A man living in a wooden shed died when it went up in flames Friday.

The shed in the 300 block of East 2nd Street near Wichmann near downtown Houston caught fire at 1 a.m. It quickly became engulfed in flames and smoke.

A 59-year-old man known simply as Ottis was trapped inside. He had been living there for about seven months. The victim's children said he had fallen on hard times and recently lost his wife.

The shed had been converted into a small one-bedroom unit. Instead of watching Ottis go to a shelter, the community got together to take care of him.

"He didn't bother anyone, very laid back. He minded his own business," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.

Members of the community said they tried to help Ottis out of the fire, but it was too late.

"We seen the orange fire and I asked him to come to the door. He said he couldn't move," witness Jamar Houston said. "I kicked it in and he said he was behind the door, but he was on the opposite side."

Ottis' body was later found near the door.

He had two children and several grandchildren.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The property owner said there was little to no electricity going to the shed.

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