Crews find the body of a man while fighting a fire in Shelby

SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - Firefighters discover the body of a man while fighting an intense fire early Friday morning.

Neighbors who live off of Sharon Circle in Shelby were hoping everything was going to be okay.

Hoping the sounds coming from next door weren't really explosions.

Hoping their friend made it out of the fire that consumed his house.

But nothing that happened was okay.

They just stood in disbelief as the flames ripped through the split level home a few minutes after midnight.

"I was in bed, and I jumped straight out of bed when I heard the boom" said Clyde Willis who live across the street.  "I was scared to death when I first saw it.  If the wind were blowing, we'd be in big trouble."

Willis, along with several of his neighbors, went house to house banging on doors trying to get people out before the fire spread out of control.

Fire investigators said they got a call about the home fully engulfed in flames.  They got there to find most of the home was already on fire.

People who live in the area said it looked like it started in the garage, and quickly spread through the rest of the house.

More units arrived on scene as crews worked to extinguish the fire.  Firefighters went in to search the building, and that's when they said they found the body of a man in a front bedroom.

The victim has been identified as 48-year old Howard Dawkins, and no exact cause of death has been determined.

Members of the Fire Department Investigative Unit along with the State Bureau of Investigations came out to try to figure out just what happened.  No cause of the fire has been released.

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