Richard "Dicky" Hilton died in a house fire early Friday morning.
GOODLETTSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
An 84-year-old man died Friday morning in a Goodlettsville house fire.
Richard "Dicky" Hilton was found lying on the floor unconscious when firefighters arrived just after midnight, and flames were shooting from the sunroom.
One neighbor said he saw the flames and knew the man lived alone. He said he ran over and started banging on the door, but no one answered, so he assumed no one was home.
"You almost want to open the door and go inside," Nicholas Short, the man's neighbor, said. "It's a scary feeling. You don't never hope for anybody to be caught in a house like that."
Hilton had lived in the home since 1956, according to family members. Nancy, his wife of 61 years, died in August 2012.
While investigators try to figure out what caused the fire, the victim's family is still trying to process their loss.
"They called me at midnight and said they couldn't get a hold of him," said daughter Nancy Wilson.
Crews were called to the home after getting not one but two emergency calls - one from a neighbor and another from the 84 year old great-grandfather himself. Hilton had a medic alert pin, but the flames moved so fast and heat was so intense, help wouldn't come in time.
"It would be tough for somebody to come out of a situation like this due to the thickness of the smoke and the chemicals that's in the smoke," said Goodlettsville Fire Capt. Dean Birdwell.
Wilson said she can't believe she'll never see her father again or hear his voice, his stories and his laughter.
"I miss the heck out of him. I was daddy's girl," she said. "He was always laughing and cutting up and loved to tell jokes."
Wilson said memories came rushing back after getting the news her father died in the very home the retired engineer designed and built for her mother in 1953.
"He never finished high school and went into the service. Never finished high school and yet he was one of the smartest men I've ever known in my life," Wilson said.
Investigators believe the fire started in the sunroom. At this point, it doesn't look suspicious but they are continuing to investigate.
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