Hawthorne fire damages home with pack-rat conditions; 1 dead

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (KABC) -- A person who perished in a house fire in Hawthorne Sunday morning may have been living in pack-rat conditions.

Los Angeles County firefighters responded to a call at about 6:15 a.m. in the 5000 block of West 135th Street. Flames were knocked down by about 6:45 a.m. after spreading to a nearby home.

A man who was initially unaccounted for was found dead in the garage from possible smoke inhalation.

Guy Anderson called 911 after realizing the crackling noises he was hearing was his neighbor's house on fire.

Neighbors described the victim as an introvert who had lived there for many years, but always kept to himself. Many were unaware of his name, but said he always waved hello.

"He was a really nice fellow, always pleasant to everybody, kind of a loner," Anderson said. "He didn't have too many people coming around, but always very pleasant, very polite."

Both gas and electric companies were called to the scene. Building inspectors also responded and red-tagged the home.

The arson unit also joined in the investigation to help determine the cause of the blaze.

The victim's name was withheld pending notification of kin. An investigation is ongoing.

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