DEVINE, Texas -- San Antonio Fireman Matthew Whitley died Thursday night when his home caught fire.
"It's just really, unreal when you don't have a chance to say goodbye," said Monica Morrissey.
She had chills and tears when she drove by to see what remains of Whitley’s mobile home.
Friends described Whitley, 31, as a good ole' country boy.
“He just had a good heart and he was a kind and fun-loving guy,” said Morrissey.
Morrissey, a childhood friend, brought Matthew's younger sister, Bridget, to see the damage.
"I feel like, for Bridget, this is like closure. It was something that happened so suddenly,” Morrissey said.
According to the Medina County Sheriff's Office, around midnight neighbors heard popping noises and saw flames shooting from Whitley’s home. Investigators said he was alone.
"It's just really sad when something like this happens to family you love," Morrissey added through tears.
For at least an hour, a neighbor’s black dog sniffed around the charred rubble before settling down in front of the home. Friends said Whitley loved animals and often fed or played with the dog.
Here is part of a statement from Public Information Officer, Deborah Foster on behalf of the SAFD:
“The San Antonio Fire Department is deeply saddened at the loss of Matthew Whitley, a 10 year old veteran of our department. Our prayers and thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”
Whitley’s father has been a training instructor with SAFD and has been with the department more than 20 years.
The Medina County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the cause of the fire.