THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Thomasville Fire Investigators determined food left cooking on a stove caused a fire that killed a man in his home Thursday morning.
Officials said this tragedy could have been avoided with cautious cooking and proper fire safety equipment.
Flames and smoke awoke neighbors on East Webster street early Thursday morning.
Neighbors were devastated when they looked out and saw that they were coming from their friend Rodney Sewell's home.
Tyneisha Bush, a neighbor of Sewell, said, "I prayed for him. I said 'I hope they get him out of there. I hope nothing's going to be wrong with him.'"
But by the time firefighters arrived, the home was filled with flames and smoke.
Thomasville Fire Investigator Craig Dukes said the fire started after a greasy pan was left on a hot stove.
Dukes said, "If the house and all the doors are open, it'll travel real quick. It'll move throughout the house."
And it did.
The flames started in the kitchen, caught the cabinets on fire, and spread quickly to Sewell's bedroom.
Firefighters said he might have made it out if the home had smoke detectors.
Dukes said, "We encourage everybody to come to the Fire Department and get smoke detectors and we'll even go and install them."
Neighbors said Sewell leaves behind four children.
Sewell's neighbor and friend Dajon Bouldin said, "I pray for their family and the little girls. I know what they are going through. His momma. It's just sad."
Officials say Sewell's body has been sent to the crime lab to determine the exact cause of death.