El Paso fire officials confirm to ABC-7 that one man has died in a house fire in West El Paso.
Several calls came in just after 4:30 a.m. Thursday, reporting that flames and smoke were seen coming from a house at the 700 block of Villa Vanessa .
Assistant Fire Chief said that fire fighters were dispatched at 4:33 and were on the scene with in seven minutes.
This morning EPFD battalion chief Carlos Franco originally told ABC-7 that there were three to four people in the house, but only one — the male victim — has been found. His age is not known at this time, said Franco.
We are now learning that there was only one person in the house. Assistant Fire Chief R.J. Carson confirmed that only one man was in the house. Carson said that when firefighters entered the home, the found the man laying on the floor in front of the door. It appeared as though the man was trying to escape the home.
Carson said “We did go in for a primary search, we did find the gentleman near the front door. We pulled him out, requested an ambulance, and when we got to assess him we found out he was already deceased.”
Carson confirmed that the identity of the man has not been released, and they are still waiting to inform his family.
There was also a dog in the backyard that survived. Carson told ABC 7 that the man’s caretaker, who lives down the street, took the dog.
The fire was reported as a condition three, meaning there was heavy smoke and fire visible.
Carson said “The house was damaged by fire very heavily involved, the roof eventually collapsed including the air conditioner.”
At one point, flames were shooting up as high as 30 feet and caused the roof to collapse.
EPFD reports that 19 units and 44 personnel were fighting the flames. Crews were able to get control of the fire and are now checking for hotspots.
Assistant Chief Carson told ABC 7 that the number of personnel sent out to the fire was standard, saying, “They upgraded the response from the primary response to the condition three because of the size of the fire and the possible victims,” he said, “We have a standard response for a neighborhood and what prompted the upgrade was the flames coming up through the roof,” saying that told them the fire had already been burning for quite a while.
Fernando Silva, a neighbor said he didn’t personally know his neighbor, but waved at him every now and again.
He said his wife and he woke up to the flames, but the fire department was already on the scene, saying “They were just doing their thing, putting out the fire,and then we found out that the old man had passed away, in the fire.” Silva said he believed the man to be about 75 to 80 years old.
Marivel Flores, a neighbor who lives just a couple of doors down from where the fire happened said she woke up to a text from her sister, asking her if she was okay. She told ABC 7 that she woke her husband up and told him. She said “I was like, yes it’s right down the street it’s right here,” she said “When I saw Facebook and looked out I said oh my god its really close, and it looked really strong.”
Flores said her and her husband talked about getting a fire extinguisher this morning.
We will update you with more information as it becomes available to us.