Riverview fire takes life of elderly man

One man lost in Riverview blaze

RIVERVIEW, Fla. - "I knew he was inside." Greg Harper would tell me, "I just couldn't find him."

Greg raced from his Riverview home early Friday morning, across the street to his neighbor's house. Inside the home that was being swallowed by flames was his neighbor, 70-year-old Bobby Granger.

In a desperate attempt to get Granger out, Greg said, "I was screaming like a mad man out here. I threw a few blocks through the window to find Mr. Granger, but it was too late."

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue was on the scene within minutes of getting the call. When they got there, the house was fully involved, flames ripping through the roof. It took them 20 minutes to knock down the fire, and on a secondary search of the home they found the body of Bobby Granger in a back bedroom.

With his death, five teams are now part of the investigation, including the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and Fire Marshall, the State Fire Marshal, the Sheriff's Office, and the Medical Examiner.

Each is now working together to find answers to several questions:  Where did the fire start?  How did it start?  And why Bobby Granger never made it out?

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesperson Ronnie Rivera said there were no working smoke detectors in the home.  "If there was a properly functioning smoke alarm, it would have alerted the homeowner that there was danger. That there was something going on. That person probably would have walked away from this home."

For family and friends, their world has been thrown upside-down. The loss of the home is immaterial. But the loss of a loved one is unbearable. "It's a sad, sad day," Greg Harper mourned, "A good man is gone."

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