CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – One man was killed, and police say another would have been killed as well if an officer hadn't been in the right place at the right time during an early morning house fire in Clarksville.
An officer was on a traffic stop when he noticed flames coming from a house on Cave Street around 1:50 a.m. Monday. Several other officers responded after he called dispatch, and they were able to rescue a man from inside the home.
Police said officers woke 50-year-old Matias Hernandez-Castellano by breaking out a window, and then pulled him to safety after pulling out a wall air conditioning unit and breaking another window.
Officers initially thought Castellano was the only person inside, but then learned there was a second man living inside the house. The home was fully engulfed by then, and officers could not reenter the home.
Firefighters later found a man in his 20s deceased inside the home. His name was not immediately released, pending notification of family.
Investigators say the fired started in the bedroom where they found the victim. "They were using portable heaters to heat their home," said Fire Marshal Ray Williams. So far, fire officials have not determined whether the heaters were the official cause of the fire.
Friends were stunned by the news. "Bad, real bad. Because both guys are responsible people. Good people,' said Eduardo Alvarez who rented the home to the men.
It took firefighters nearly four hours to put out the flames as the fire continued to reignite.
Clarksville Fire officials say sthis is the second fire death there in just three months. Clarksville Police and Fire Departments will conduct a joint investigation to determine the cause.