"I saw that burning down and I thought, oh no, I bet he's in there," said neighbor Marilyn Hileman.
"When I peeked out, it was like flames just going through the roof," said neighbor Melanie Garion.
Fire crews knocked down the flames in about 20 minutes and began searching the home. They found Potter's body in a bathroom.
"We pulled up within four minutes of the dispatch time, they knocked it down real fast and unfortunately that person had succumbed," said Los Angeles City Fire Batt. Chief Wade White.
The Potter was a retired school teacher. He lived alone in the house he grew up in.
Residents say he was well liked by everyone in the neighborhood.
"Well-loved, he did a wonderful job for the school district as a school psychologist," said Hileman.
"He was very nice. He was a retired school teacher, and we'd talk on end about kids now-a-days and school. We've known him forever. These houses were built in 1924 or 23 and that was the first house on the block," said neighbor Jennifer Jones.
The blaze caused extensive damage to the house.
The cause of the fire and the man's death are under investigation.