ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A house fire in Anderson County has claimed the life of a man.
The fire broke out around 6:30 a.m. Saturday at a home on Mountain Creek Church Road off Highway 29.
The coroner identified the victim as 65-year-old Freddie Ray Simmons.
He lived at the residence with his girlfriend who was injured in the fire.
Simmons died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries, according to the coroner. He was found lying on a sofa in the living room of the residence where he was sleeping at the time of the fire.
Massive flames engulfed the house on Saturday morning, but before firefighters and EMS arrived Calvin Simmons was already there.
“I’ve seen a lot of house fires and I knew there were fatalities when I saw it,” he told 7News.
Calvin Simmons was awakened by the sound of barking dogs and saw smoke coming from the direction of his bother’s home just down the street.
“I knew it was him. I just went and got clothes on and ran and got in the truck,” Calvin said.
The retired firefighter says the house was fully engulfed and he knew there was nothing he could do to save his brother inside.
“Has it really even hit you what happened here?” asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman.
“No,” Simmons answered.
When firefighters arrived, they found Wanda Nichols outside suffering from smoke inhalation. Nichols’ boyfriend and Simmons brother, Freddie Ray Simmons, was still inside.
Investigators say firefighters found Freddie Ray Simmons dead when they entered the burning home.
“Everybody around the whole neighborhood knew him,” Calvin Simmons said. “He was a fix it all. He could do anything.”
Calvin Simmons asks the community to pray for his family.
He says his brother’s dog got out before the house went up in flames, but the dog is now missing. He asks that anyone who sees a little white dog please return it to 804 Mountain Creek Church Road.
An autopsy is scheduled Monday.
The home was extensively damaged and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. Officials do not believe the fire to be suspicious.