Deadly house fire in Aiken - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Deadly house fire in Aiken

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AIKEN, SC (WFXG) -

UPDATE: A house fire in Aiken leaves one dead and a neighborhood in shock and wondering how it happened.

Words can't explain how people are feeling in the neighborhood on Columbia Avenue after one of their neighbors perished in Thursday's early morning fire.

"The smoke was coming out and I tried to kick through the front door," said Byron Daniel.  

Daniel lives down the street, his father is the landlord of the home that burned and when he saw the house in flames, he tried to save the man who he believed was inside.

"The police grabbed me back and told me don't go in," said Daniel.  

Aiken Department of Public Safety responded to the scene only to find a body inside.

"It's just a tragedy," said Daniel.   

Family and friends told FOX54 the man who lived there was 71 year old Thomas Jerome Butler. They are devastated by this loss but friends say he will not be forgotten.

"He loved to tell jokes, he was very comical," said El.

"We always had a good conversation," said Eberett Dorch.  

SLED officials were investigating the scene all morning. They said the house was so badly burned that they are not able to determine the exact cause of fire. However, they said they do not suspect any criminal activity.

"It's just a family member gone," said El.  

A family member gone without much explanation; neighbors said they aren't even sure what could have caused the fire but said the man did not have electricity and he was last seen on Wednesday using a kerosene lamp.

"We can't dwell on that he's gone, we have to think about the happy things," said El.  

Holding on to those happier times is certainly what this neighborhood is embracing after such a tragedy.

No one else was hurt from the fire. The Aiken Count Coroner's Office said the man had only lived there for two weeks.

ORIGINAL: South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is investigating a deadly house fire on the 400 block of Columbia Avenue.

Aiken Department of Public Safety deputies responded the burning home around 12:04 a.m. on Thursday and found the deceased residence inside.

Aiken County Coroner has not yet released the identity of the victim. No word yet on how the fire was started.

FOX54 will continue to follow this developing story.

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