Cameron County Fire authorities identified the victim of a Sunday morning house fire on the 6000 block of Dockberry Road as 79-year-old Casimiro Hernandez.
Relatives said the man was very independent and alert, but set in his ways.
They said he loved to have candles burning inside the home without keeping batteries in his smoke detector.
Neighbors said they woke-up to find the home fully engulfed in flames.
"I could hear banging in the morning, Juanita Gomez said. Just somebody banging real hard he carried a cane, so I TMm assuming it was the cane he was banging at the door."
Neighbors said they could see the smoke thicken and flames engulfing Hernandez TMs home and they even heard an explosion.
The fire was so intense, Gomez said, that there was nothing they could do but watch in horror.
Hernandez's only son Juan Manuel Hernandez and his wife arrived at what was left of his father's home to assist county fire investigators.
The couple said Hernandez kept candles lit inside his home because he "wanted to light the way." They also said Hernandez often kept the smoke detector without batteries because the alarm was too loud for him to handle.
County Fire Marshall Armando Lucio said a smoke detector can make the difference between life and death.
"We consider smoke detectors the firemen inside the house, ready to wake you up if anything like this happens," Lucio said.
Lucio said when a smoke detector alerts people that the batteries are low they need to listen.
Lucio said people should look forward to a detector check-up just like a holiday.
"One thing that we really let people know is that on your birthday, on Fourth of July, Christmas Day change the batteries, Lucio said. Good or bad throw them away and put some new batteries pick up a date or twice a year."
The recommendation is one heat detector in the kitchen and one in each room if possible.
A two-story home should keep a smoke detector on each floor.