THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Friends and family gathered around a home on Alexander street in Thomasville, after a house fire killed 85-year-old Homer Hayes early Friday morning.
Family and neighbors are remembering a man who was known by many in the community.
This home at 205 Alexander Street was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived just after midnight.
Thomasville Fire Marshal Tim Connell said, “The commanding officer last night stated that it was un-survivable at the time they arrived, due to the amount of fire that was in the house.”
Inside, firefighters found the body of Homer Hayes.
Friday morning, neighbors and family came by hoping what they heard wasn't true.
Neighbor and friend Verna Sneed said, “It's tragic. It's painful. Even though I'm not a relative, it's still a neighborhood. Like a community, we always look out for each other.”
It was a traumatic scene that left family members questioning how something like this could happen.
Hayes's cousin Billy Bass said, “You couldn't see anything. Nothing but smoke. That's all you could see.”
You can still see some of the home's original white paint, making some sort of a V-shape.
This is what firefighters call a 'V-pattern', leading them to believe the flames started from underneath the home.
When Thomasville Gas arrived, they uncovered a small crack in the gas line beneath the home.
Connell said, “With the gas trying to go up, because it's lighter than air, it pocketed underneath the floor joist. And when it worked its way through the floor joist, maybe a little bit, it picked up one of those ignition sources and it just started the fire.”
The state fire marshal's office said the ignition source, in this case, was an open flame from an appliance in the living room.
An unpreventable situation that took the life of a man known for his kind heart.
Bass said, “He was one of the best. He was the best.”
Family members said they're relieved to have answers now, but answers can't bring him back.