Officials confirm one fatality in a house fire and explosion at a home in the north Birmingham community of Robinwood.
The identity of the person killed has not yet been officially released, but family members at the scene say the man who died in the fire was named Kevin Barnes. Witnesses say he was killed after he ran back into the burning house. The house is located in the 400 block of 5th Street in Robinwood, a community just north of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
According to neighbors, the fire began when a matress on the front porch of the home caught on fire and the flames spread to the rest of the house. Neighbors described hearing two or three explosions seconds after flames erupted from the home around 11 a.m. Monday, June 18.
"I was inside the house and heard two or three loud booms, thought maybe a sonic boom from a plane or something," witness Albert Bowens said.
"Looked outside and didn't see anything in the sky, looked over to the left and just saw the house engulfed in flames. Coming out the windows, over the top of the roof, it was just real intense," Bowens said.
Neighbors say the victim didn't live at the house, but was staying there last night. When the fire broke out this morning, he ran back inside to try to put out the flames.
The Center Point Fire Department responded to the scene as well as Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputies and Tarrant police. The report of the house fire came in at 10:51 a.m. and Center Point Fire department says they had firetrucks at the scene by 11 a.m.
Firefighters spent a majority of Monday putting out hotspots in the home before they could start investigating what caused the fire to spread so quickly. Neighbors say there were medical oxygen tanks inside the
house and possibly gas cans for children's go karts inside as well. Those may
have been source for explosion, but investigators have not yet confirmed the cause of the fire or the explosion.
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