Man's body found after fire at northwest Houston home

Firefighters said burglar bars hampered efforts

HOUSTON - A man was found dead after fire tore through a northwest Houston home Monday night.

The fire started shortly before midnight in the 5200 block of Lamonte Lane near Costa Rica Road. When firefighters arrived, there were flames shooting from the back of the one story ranch-style home. A neighboring home was also at risk of catching fire.

Neighbors said the flames were intense.

"It was scary.  I came out back and you couldn't even stand on the patio. The heat was too much," neighbor LaNelle Pyka said.

Crews managed to keep the fire from spreading to the neighbor's home, but had to fight the fire from the outside.

HFD Deputy Chief Terry Stone said the home had burglar bars and a reinforced attic that made fighting the flames more difficult.

"This fire had a lot of access problems due to some heavy burglar bars," Stone said.

Once firefighters were able to get inside, they found a body in a back bedroom, where the fire was most intense.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will determine exactly what killed the man, whose name has not yet been released.

Neighbors said the owner of the home lived alone and that his wife passed away last year.

Investigators said they aren't sure if the fire is suspicious or accidental. Arson investigators collected evidence and a tracking dog searched the home.

No firefighters were hurt.

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