ST. LOUIS • A man was found dead in a home in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood this morning after a stubborn blaze ravaged the home.
The fire, reported about 7:45 a.m., took some time for firefighters to get under control. Officials believe the fire started on the first floor of the home in the 5300 block of Theodosia Avenue, near Union Boulevard. The fire spread up through the walls of the home and burned through parts of the roof.
The man's body was found in a main room of the house.
Relatives at the fire scene identified the dead man as Charles Henry, 79. They said he retired about a year ago after more than 50 years working with sheet-metal for a division of McDonnell Douglas. A son, Larry Henry, said his father also ran a resale shop in St. Louis for many years.
He was married and had seven adult sons, according to family members who arrived at the home after the fire.
Fire officials believe Henry may have been trying to put out the fire himself, but are still investigating. Neighbors tried to get in the home to help Henry, but were pushed back by smoke and flames.
The fire does not appear to be suspicious. Fire officials said it wasn't immediately clear if the home had smoke detectors.
Renee Mays, 32, who grew up on the block but now lives in another part of the city, came to watch when she learned about the blaze this morning on television news. Mays said Henry was well-known on the block as active in the neighborhood watch and a man who would work hard to keep kids out of trouble.
"He was the next best thing to the police," Mays said. "And that's because of the respect we all had for him."
Another neighbor, Willie Young, 59, said Henry was a good, outgoing man and a hard worker.