MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Intense flames and heavy smoke. That's how some residents described the fire that ate through their neighbor's home on Riverwood Drive.
"It was hot, a lot of smoke, a lot of black, toxic smoke," one neighbor said.
Thomas Browning lives across the street from the home that went up in flames early Saturday morning.
"I woke up with a woman screaming for help," Browning said.
He said that scream came from the wife of his 71-year-old friend Pol Frederic. The couple was in the house when the fire broke out, so he rushed inside the burning home to help.
"I tried to get in the house to see if I could get Pol out. By that time there was no way. By that time it was totally engulfed in flames, so I got her and the daughter away from the house," said Browning.
Frederic's wife was able to escape the flames unharmed. According to Moss Point Fire Chief Tommy Posey, firefighters and police spent several hours putting out the raging inferno. Neighbors and firefighters faced an extra threat from ammunition being stored in the house.
"They did everything they could to try to save the house, but once they got here, it wasn't a whole lot they could do because the house was engulfed. There was ammunition going off. Like most of us boys in the South, we all got guns and ammunition. That was one thing that was a deterrent to me when I went in the house and took a right in the house, because I know where he was located and there were rounds going off, so I had to get out of the house," said Browning.
Posey said the cause of the fire is still unknown, and state and county fire officials will continue their investigations. Neighbors admit this death has left them both shocked and saddened.
"I lost a good friend. We fished together, and we talked almost daily for years until he got in bad shape and stayed in the house a lot. It is a great loss. He was a good man, a good family man," Browning said.