One killed in Riverview house fire, residence destroyed

Neighbors say they knew man inside very well

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. - A deadly Riverview fire has left one man dead his neighbors wondering what sparked the blaze to begin with early Thursday morning.

Investigators say the fire started around 3:44 on Thursday morning at 13918 Raulerson Road in Riverview. 

Jennifer Christopher, who says she was delivering newspapers on her normal route when she noticed the blaze.  She immediately sprung into action, doing what she could to save whoever she could.

"It seemed like the whole thing went up in flames within like five minutes," says Christopher.

 "I wanted to get the people out on either side in case it spread, so I mean that's the only thing that went though my head, was getting them out." 

Linda Barrow and Carol Morris were the ones next door, thankful that the paper lady came knocking, because they were still asleep inside by the time the home was fully engulfed.

"She came and knocked and beat on the door, until she awoke us about 3:00 this morning," says Barrow.

Barrow and Morris both say they knew the man they believe was trapped inside that home and died.  Morris says the second she walked outside, she feared the worst. 

"We knew Rico was in there," says Morris about the man she knew live in the home, alone.  "It was just a blaze and in a couple hours it was gone."

She says the man that she thinks died inside the home lost his wife to cancer a few years ago, his dog then died and then he lost his job.  Morris says after all that, he became a recluse and rarely talked to anyone on the street.  And although tragic, Morris seems to think that maybe, the man they knew as Rico, is now in a better place.

"He's with Jane [his wife] now, so I'm sure he's happy."

Even though the neighbors are sure they know who the person inside that home was, investigators have yet to release an identity of the victim.

At this time, no cause of the fire has been released.

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