A Houston mother is devastated and angry with the local fire department after firefighters somehow missed the dead body of her son lying in the rubble of a Christmas Day fire at his home.
It wasn't until Rosa Mendez (pictured below) went to her son's house the next day, concerned about why she didn't get a Christmas visit from him, that she found his body and learned of his death.
Crews were called to the unidentified man's home when the interior of the house was ablaze Wednesday. They searched and searched but couldn't find anyone inside after the fire was put out. Fire officials said the home was filled with clutter, making it difficult to search inside.
"That bedroom, there was the bed and a lot of furniture in there, as well as a lot of clothing," Lt. Chad Shaw, the Harris County fire marshal, told local TV station KHOU.
But Mendez said that was no excuse.
"I can even smell something different -- burning different -- than the rest of the house," Mendez told KHOU.
Fire officials said they couldn't locate anyone who lived at the home and couldn't get numbers of relatives to call. But Mendez and neighbors said more could have been done.
Officials said the man died from smoke inhalation.
It seems like an unlikely scenario, but incidents like this have happened before. In 2010, Cleveland's fire chief was angry to learn that firefighters called to put out a burning car behind a vacant home overlooked a dead body inside. And the Indianapolis Fire Department had to apologize back in 2009 for missing the body of a man in a burned apartment building. The body wasn't discovered until a month later.