Deadly House Fire Claims Neighborhood Icon

Emma Jordan said it took only minutes for the home at 654 Walker to go up in flames, "It was just flaming everywhere, you couldn't see nothing, it was real smoky."

Neighbors say the home was a rooming house used by several men.

One was treated for smoke inhalation.

Jordan says a man in his eighties was trapped in the back of the house, "He was a vet, he was a vet in the war and he lived in that place because he had nowhere else to go. He had no family or nothing."

Most here don't know his real name, they called him "Pops" and it was evident his death hit them hard.

Rocky Smith says more than a neighbor he was someone who cared for others, "He was like the father of the community."

Smith said "pops" took on the role without being asked, "He was a pillar of the community. He would always bring things in for the kids and look out for the ladies. He'd always bring extra food in and stuff, commodities to help people out."

Smith said he also fed and took care of stray dogs, cleaned up trash around the neighborhood and spread the knowledge that only someone his age could, "He always tried to tell us what was right and wrong and what he did in his day and he was just a pillar of the community and we're gonna miss him."

How the fire started isn't known.

The impact of the loss of one mans life clearly is.