Neighbors react to body found in burned house: 'It's unfathomable'

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) - Investigators still have a lot of work to do in determining what caused a house fire in Meridian that left a man dead.

The fire was called in at 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, near Black Cat and Chinden. The home is a total loss, and now detectives are trying to figure out what happened to the man and if the fire was lit on purpose.

Ada County Sheriff's deputies have been on scene all day Friday, and still consider it an active scene because they're investigating it as an arson. Neighbors in the area say it's surprising that something like that could have happened in such a quiet area.

"I woke when the fire truck went by," neighbor Mike Siron said. "Anytime a fire truck goes by around here you're awake immediately."

Mike Siron calls this area a small, quiet agricultural community. Last night he says loud sirens tipped him off that something was wrong.

"We walked down to the end of the lane where you can see across the field and the flames were like 50 to 60 feet in the air," he said. "It just went so fast, it was like within an hour the house was gone."

Siron has lived in his home down the street for 30 years. He says the family had lived in their home for longer than that.

"I thought everyone was okay because I saw people in blankets watching the blaze which is heartbreaking to see that, someone losing their home for so many years.

Ada County Sheriff's deputies have confirmed a body was found in the garage. Siron believes it was his neighbor, who he says was also a great friend.

"It's heartbreaking actually," he said. "It's almost unfathomable for me. It's so strange because we're just kind of old-fashioned in this area, these kinds of things don't happen out here."

Neighbors have told KBOI a man named Kenton Brandel lives in the burned home. However, investigators and the Ada County Coroner's Office have not identified the man who was found in the garage. The coroner's report doesn't specify on the cause or manner of death either. That information is expected to be available next week.