Man rescued from Lufkin house fire dies in hospital

By Tina Sellers - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Lufkin firefighters pulled a man from a Mitchell Avenue house fire Friday evening, according to witnesses. The victim, 37-year-old Richard Browning of Lufkin, died in a Houston hospital Saturday afternoon.

"He was a good guy, a fun guy to be around," said neighbor Jimmy Davis.

When the flames took over a Lufkin home, neighbors ran to rescue the homeowner they thought was trapped inside.

"We all got up to the door and kicked the door in so the fire, the smoke overtook us," said Franklin Clark who tried to help, before responders arrived minutes later.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Lufkin Fire Department crews arrived to the blaze on the 1000 block of Mitchell Avenue, off Chestnut and Denman. First responders scrambled to extinguish the home, fully-engulfed by flames, as well as protect neighboring structures.

Officials on the scene said Browning was found on the floor of a back bedroom near a window. While receiving treatment, authorities said it became apparent the man had been involved in some type of physical altercation due to lacerations observed on the man's head.

"There wasn't any life in him," said Clark, who watched as authorities carried him out of the home.

Once moved to the street, chest compressions were performed on the man before he was transported to Memorial Health Systems of East Texas in Lufkin. A crowd of nearly 30 people had gathered outside the emergency room around midnight, awaiting updates on the victim. Browning was later flown by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

The gutted home is currently taped off. Late Friday firefighters sifted through the home for a cause, according to Captain Randy Moody of the Lufkin Fire Department. Fire fighters said they put out the blaze with a new air-compressed truck that uses air and soap to absorb more heat. However, it appeared there was little crews could do to save the structure.

The cause of the fire in still under investigation although police said it did appear to be suspicious.

A witness told KTRE News the home owner was not present at the time and the victim did not have permission to be in the house.

Neighbors aren't sure what Browning's relationship is to the homeowner. They say he did visit from time to time.

"He didn't bother nobody or nothing like that," said Clark.