BARROW COUNTY, Ga. - Fire investigators are trying to figure out what caused a fire that left a man dead in Barrow County.
According to Barrow County Emergency Services, the fire broke out in the 300 block of Lokeys Ridge Road in Bethlehem around 5 a.m. Monday.
Channel 2's Kristen Holloway spoke to a neighbor who said the man was a disabled veteran.
Just got to the scene of a house fire in Barrow Co. Firefighters told me they tried to enter the home to search for victims but they were pushed back by the heavy fire. Once it was under control, crews found an elderly man inside. Neighbors told me he was a disabled veteran. pic.twitter.com/FVoC5MwAvF— Kristen Holloway (@KHollowayWSB) March 18, 2019
Holloway also spoke to the man's grandson, who identified the victim as Duane Downey, 71.
His grandson, Derrick Bozeman, said Downey was a Vietnam War veteran. Bozeman said his grandfather was shot seven times and was hit by a rocket during the war.
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He said he is heartbroken to hear his grandfather died in the house fire.
Just spoke to grandson of the man who died in a house fire in Barrow County. He told me his grandfather’s name is Duane Downey and says he was 71yrs old and a Vietnam Veteran. @WendyCoronaWSB pic.twitter.com/XvdYbiTHuX— Kristen Holloway (@KHollowayWSB) March 18, 2019
"All we can do now is pick up the pieces and celebrate who he was," Bozeman said.
Crews told Holloway they tried to go inside the house through an upstairs window to search for people inside the home, but they were pushed back by the heavy fire.
Once the fire was under control, crews found Downey.
Neighbors were emotional upon hearing what happened.
“May he rest in peace. He was a great guy," Luz Rodriguez said.
As of noon Monday, crews were looking through debris trying to figure out what may have caused the fire.
Firefighters said they do not believe it was arson.
People are being asked to avoid the area of Lokeys Ridge Road.
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