RACINE -- A man was found dead after fire tore through a Racine home Tuesday morning, May 21. The fire broke out near Coolidge Avenue and Webster Street shortly after 4 a.m.
"The windows were cracking and the heat was just so intense," said a neighbor. "It was so smoky. You could see clouds of smoke blocking out the windows at the time."
Justin Mendez woke up to the sight of his neighbor's house engulfed in flames.
"I got out of the bed, ran barefoot across to the house," said Mendez.
Mendez said he and others jumped into action.
"Neighbors were pounding on doors. Everyone was trying to help," said Mendez.
Sadly, the flames were deadly. Crews knocked down the fire and found a person and a dog dead inside. The Racine County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed to FOX6 News the deceased was a man.
"Sad that someone ended up perishing in this fire, knowing that it's so close to home," said Corey Musiel, neighbor.
Musiel watched as daylight revealed the damage.
"Destruction," Musiel said. "It's crazy what fire can do to a house, especially the house next to it. The whole side of it is melted."
Neighbors watched investigators go in and out of the charred home all day, trying to figure out how the fire started.
"Any investigation we do, and a death investigation, we try to be as thorough as possible so we don't miss anything," said Sgt. Adam Malacara, with the Racine Police Department.
"Prayers go out to them," Musiel said. "I hope they can get everything settled."
The cause of the fire was under investigation. The home was deemed a total loss.