SPANISH LAKE, MO (KTVI)- A tragedy just days before Christmas in Spanish Lake. One man is killed after an overnight fire at his home on Criterion Avenue not far from Belletontaine Road. The man who lived in the house alone was killed in the fire. Family members identify him as 64 year old Herman Williams.
His niece Brigette Williams, said, "This is really shocking. We didn`t think he would go this way...He was just a great man, he would help anybody with no questions asked-very funny, well-rounded."
Spanish Lake firefighters received the call just before 3:30 a.m. Thursday. Flames were already shooting from the home when they arrived at the scene. Firefighters from several other departments responded as well.
Beverly Foster, who lives across the street, saw the fire and knew Herman.
"It was very hard, it`s very hard to see because he was a very nice man- he was our neighbor, he watched our house," explained Foster.
Williams` family says he loved Christmas and would take gifts to people.
"(He) delivered gifts and put money in peoples mailboxes-delivers the fruit and the candy. We would always get it Christmas Eve, so it would have been coming," said another one of his nieces Jamie Thompson.
Authorities say much of the fire damage was concentrated in the kitchen area. Investigators believe that could be where the fire started. Williams` family thinks he might have fallen asleep while he cooking something.
Williams was dealing with some health issues. He was found dead in his bedroom.
As Williams family members brought items out of the burned home, they are now uniting to help each other cope with this Christmas tragedy.
"We`re going to just pull it together and bring out his memories that we have of him and make it an enjoyable holiday," said Brigette.
When we asked Jamie Thompson how she wanted her uncle remembered, she told us, "As our fun, crazy uncle who cared about everybody and would give you his last and was kind of like Santa Claus on Christmas."
Bomb and Arson investigators have been called in although foul play is not suspected. An official cause has not yet been determined.
The home next door did sustain some damage but nobody there was hurt.