Neighbors Talk About Fatal House Fire
By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - An overnight fire in Odessa turns deadly, killing one person. An elderly woman who lived at that home died in the blaze.

From the front, the home looks like any other, but the back tells a different story.

"It makes you pretty sad," neighbor, Billy Hill, Jr., said. "Just to hear about anybody passing away."

Hill was on his computer early Tuesday morning when a fire broke out at his neighbor's home.

"I just heard a bunch of popping and sizzling and stuff like that and I kinda got a little nervous," Hill said. "Next thing you know, you kinda heard something and it sounded like it hit the house."

What Hill likely heard was the sound of an oxygen tank exploding.

"By the time I went to the window, I just seen nothing but a bunch of flames and stuff," Hill said.

Fire investigators said a cigarette that was too close to an oxygen tank caused the deadly fire.

An elderly couple lived inside. A man, who neighbors referred to as Bobby, made it out of the house. But his wife didn't. 72-year-old Alice Richardson died at the scene.

"I had seen the man come out and I didn't know that she was there," neighbor, Wanda Chenault, said.

Chenault said the victim was ill and the couple usually kept to themselves.

"She did smoke," Chenault said. "I thought she was still in the nursing home and they brought her back. She was on oxygen so I don't know what happened."

"You would see them every once in a while outside or what not but other than that you never really seen them so you never really know if anybody stayed there or not," Hill said.

Now these neighbors said they'll be thinking about the husband and others Richardson left behind.

"I'm just so sorry," Chenault said. "I really am."