UPDATE 4: One dead in Walker County fire - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE 4: One dead in Walker County fire

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Story by Antwan Harris
Eyewitness News Reporter

WALKER COUNTY, GA. (WRCB)-- A house fire in Rossville Friday morning quickly turned fatal.

Georgia State Fire Investigators say a 49-year-old Rossville man died when his house caught fire.

A neighbor says she and her husband tried to save the man, but the flames were too intense.

The woman says she heard the man inside, faintly asking for help.

It's something she says is hard to live through as state investigators try to determine what happened.

"Whenever he moaned for the last time, and then there was silence for a few minutes," says Audra Tatum.

There's nothing but chilling silence for Audra Tatum after she heard possibly the last breaths of the victim of Friday's early morning fire.

It happened at a home in Rossville shortly before 6:00 am.

Tatum says her husband tried to kick in the front door to save the man inside, Barton Lee Hicks, but it was too late.

"He kicked in the front door and we tried to save the man that lived there and we heard him in there and he was making noises and we couldn't get in," says Tatum. "The smoke was too intense."

Volunteer firefighters say they were at the house 15 minutes after the first call. From the way the house burned, they believe the fire started in or around the kitchen.

In all, it took 17 firefighters from two different companies to put the fire out.

Our cameras were there as firefighters continued to put out hot spots around the burned stone home.

"The home started to collapse on them and they went back out and through windows to do searches for individuals," says Walker EMS Director David Ashburn.

That's when firefighters found Hicks' body lying on the floor.

Officials say the house may have been burning for hours before anyone noticed because it happened so early in the morning.

Tatum says she hopes this tragedy doesn't haunt her.

"I'm hoping that I don't have dreams about this and just the thoughts of that poor old man," says Tatum.

Investigators aren't sure what caused the fire but we do know Hicks lived alone.

We are told the family is planning funeral arrangements.

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