Man dies after fire guts north side house

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Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a fire that quickly spread through a north side home. The man living inside the home on Brackenwood Circle was not able to make it out. He died late Wednesday at St. Vincent Hospital.

Firefighters say the fire may have started a long time before people even saw it because of the house’s vaulted ceilings. Neighbors told investigators they smelled smoke for 10 minutes before seeing flames shooting through the roof.

Fire crews found a man in his mid-60s unconscious, lying 10 feet from the back door when they got inside. He was found with apparent burns and smoke inhalation injuries.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Susan Gill, who lives next door. “I had gotten several calls from neighbors telling me what was going on.”

Within minutes, calls were coming in. Firefighters had to upgrade the fire before they got on scene.

“These homes are pretty close together, but they’re actually kind of secluded,” said Lt. Bonnie Hensley, a spokeswoman for IFD. “It’s cold so people aren’t in and out a lot, so [the fire] wasn’t noticed.”

Neighbors say the man is retired and has trouble getting around.

“He stayed to himself quite a bit,” said Gill. “When you saw him, he was very friendly.”

As investigators take their time to sift through all the debris, those who live next door are keeping their neighbor and his family in their prayers.

“It’s quite shocking and it’s very sad,” said Gill. “I just wish him well. I wish his family well. I hope he comes out of this on the good side.”

Firefighters say the damage is estimated at $100,000. Investigators will be taking their time digging out and sifting through all the debris to determine the cause and origin of the fire.