Wiregrass Newsroom: One dead from early morning house fire

Dothan, AL (WSFA) -- It's quiet on Houston street in Dothan, as residents try to take in what happened.

"I cried, I can't sleep," says Connie Teague, a neighbor who lives just down the street from the house that caught fire killing twenty-five year old Antoine Toney.

She says Toney was like a son.

"How sad it was for a young man, ya know, he was a nice person.   But, I would talk to him like a mother."

It's something Connie can't believe.

"It just was a tragedy the way it happened.  I just send my prayers out to his family."

Dothan fire crews arrived on the scene around 3:30am just minutes after receiving the call.  But, neighbors and firefighters say the house was fully engulfed in fire.

"I looked outside and it was like just flame.   It was really high.   To me, it looked like it was out of control already," says Frances Pittman, a neighbor that lives across the street.

"Our firefighters made an aggressive interior attack, however the fire was too far advanced for them to effect a rescue of the victim," says Captain Chris Etheredge with the Dothan Fire Department.

Firefighters are wondering if burglar bars may have trapped Toney inside making an escape almost impossible.  They also say other factors are making it harder for them to determine how the fire started.

"There was no power on the home, so it's making it a little more difficult for investigators to get to the exact cause of the fire, along with the extensive damage on the back of the home, [it] will take them some time to get to the root of it," says Etheredge.

It's a tragedy to Connie and other residents.

"We [are] like a close-knit neighborhood," she says.

A neighborhood trying to understand why.

Reporter: Melissa McKinney