Firefighters combed through the rubble of a house in the Morningside area where a man was found dead Friday afternoon as stunned friends and neighbors gathered outside.
Relatives identified the man as Larry Davis, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Air Force.
The fire was reported shortly before 5 p.m. in the 1200 block of East Baltimore Avenue, and several neighbors said they heard an explosion.
Firefighters found a man in the house, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, said Battalion Chief Richard Harrison, a Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman. He had not been officially identified late Friday.
Investigators had not determined what caused the fire, Harrison said.
Donald Laury, who lives down the street, said he heard shouting and saw neighbors running.
Initially, he thought a fight had broken out among kids. But as he got closer, he saw heavy black smoke rolling out of his friend’s house.
Neighbors tried to break windows and beat down the door, Laury said, but the smoke proved too thick to breathe or see anything.
“We tried,” Laury said, shaking his head. “We really tried.”
Davis’ daughter, Nakia Davis of Arlington, said her father had just returned home after spending a couple of days in jail for unpaid traffic tickets.
“He was so happy to be home,” she said.
Davis, who was in his 60s, enjoyed spending time with his four children and about 20 grandchildren, his daughter said.
Every year on Veterans Day, Laury said, he and Davis ate at Golden Corral, which serves veterans free meals as part of a military appreciation dinner.
“He looked forward to that all year,” Laury said. “He never missed it.”
It was the second fatal fire within 24 hours in Fort Worth and the third this week in Tarrant County.
Late Thursday, a man was found unconscious shortly after 11 p.m. in a first-floor unit at Springbrook Apartments in the 6500 block of Normandy Road, east of East Loop 820 off Handley Drive.
The man, identified as Darrell Chambers, 50, was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital and was pronounced dead at 12:12 a.m. Friday. The cause of death had not been determined late Friday, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s website.
The cause was accidental, possibly food left on a lighted stove, according to a Fire Department news release.
On Monday, a 45-year-old man was killed in a fire at an east Arlington apartment complex.
Michael Eaves died of smoke inhalation and “thermal injury,” according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s website. He was found dead in a bathroom at Cimarron Crossing Apartments at 2014 Remington Drive, authorities reported.
Four children and 12 adults were displaced, fire officials said.