House fire in Cleveland kills elderly man, dog

Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson and firefighters from other agencies survey the damage of a fatal house fire on Thursday.

An elderly man and his dog were killed Thursday, Feb. 20, around 11 a.m. when a fire broke out in their home on the 100 block of CR 3293 in the Ranchito Allegra Subdivision off of FM 1010.

According to Pct. 6 Justice of the Peace Ralph Fuller, the two died as a result of smoke inhalation. Fuller said the victim, 78-year-old Manuel Rodriguez, was found in bed and appeared to trying to get up when he succumbed to the smoke. No autopsy was ordered.

Authorities say the fire appears to have originated near the fireplace and erupted through the roof before spreading to other parts of the house.

There was some concern during the fire that some firefighters had become trapped behind the fire. However, Cleveland Fire Chief Sean Anderson says that was not the case.

“[They were] not trapped, just a loss of communication after a partial collapse of the structure, but were quickly located and communications [were] restored. One of them (a firefighter) received a minor injury,” Anderson said, adding that the firefighters were located by another group of firefighters with the East Montgomery County Fire Department.

In addition to Cleveland and East Montgomery County, firefighters from Tarkington, Plum Grove and New Caney battled the blaze. Liberty County EMS also responded.

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