A man died Tuesday morning in a fire that engulfed the Woodbury house where he lived alone, authorities and a neighbor said.

Flames were shooting out the front of the house in the 300 block of Meadow Lane when firefighters arrived about 6:20 a.m., said Cmdr. John Altman, a spokesman for the Woodbury Public Safety Department.

A neighbor identified the man as Eddie L. Woodson, 66, and said he had lived in the house for the past eight or nine years.

"My wife jumps up and screams, 'Oh my god, Eddie's house is on fire!' "neighbor Joshua Anderson said, standing outside his house a few hours afterward.

Anderson said he ran to the burning home, and "I tried to kick in the side door, and it just wasn't budging."

He had better success kicking in the front door, and "I get this overwhelming plume of smoke. ... I get low, but I just can't get in there."

Anderson said he yelled for Woodson "as loud as I could. I didn't hear anything."

All that was left for him to do was wait for fire crews.

"By the time they got here, 15 minutes later, the whole house was gone," he said. "It went that fast."

Anderson said Woodson was a Navy veteran, "a nice guy who always had a smile on his face."

Cristy Vandeberg was driving by on her way to work and saw what she thought was a bush on fire in front of the home.

Vandeberg said she pulled over, realized the house was ablaze and joined another passerby in contemplating going inside to search for any occupants.

"I took a log and busted out a [kitchen] window on the opposite side of the house" from where the flames were concentrated, she said.

She and the man with her shouted, hoping "maybe we'd wake somebody up" in the bedroom, where flames were showing from one side window and another window facing the street, she said.

Vandeberg said her fellow would-be rescuer was ready to go in the house, "but I told him, 'You can't go in or else they'll be taking out two bodies.' "

With that, the two stood aside as police and then fire personnel arrived.

Authorities haven't said what sparked the blaze.