ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. - A fire broke out at a mobile home killing a man Monday night in Salisbury, officials said.
A neighbor pulled the 56-year old from his camper and performed CPR in an attempt to save him.
Gene Hargett placed flowers feet from where he said his best friend died. William Johnson was inside his camper when investigators said a fire started near the stove.
"He was more like my big brother,” Harget said. “He'd do anything in the world for anybody. My friends called me last night and told me what happened and I said, ‘You got to be joking.’"
Firefighters said they could hear explosions coming from the camper. A neighbor who spotted the flames before they arrived ran right up to the camper and pulled the owner out.
"That was heroic,” Ben Duganne, Johnson’s cousin, said. “I'm very proud of him. That was a brave thing to do."
Friends said Johnson had a small heater inside the camper that had issues as recently as this weekend. They don't know if that played a factor in what happened as cooler weather moved in that night.
"It is a tragedy,” Duganne said. “I hate it for the family. I wish them the best. Tough time. Tough time to have it right around Christmas and the New Year."
The fire is under investigation.
Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: