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Lancaster community remembers neighbor who died in fire after stove was left on

The Lancaster community is mourning, after another unattended cooking fire claims a life.It happened around 1:...

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 6:17 AM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 6:17 AM

The Lancaster community is mourning, after another unattended cooking fire claims a life.

It happened around 1:00 a.m. Saturday, on the 300 block of South Ann Street in Lancaster.

11 people who were inside, were able to get out safely, however a man, who was on the second floor, was taken to Lancaster General Hospital, where he later died.

"We looked out the window and saw that there was a fire across the street," said Susie Sosa, neighbor.

Flames poured out of a three-story row home window while neighbors watched in horror as firefighters rushed to get everyone out.

Five children and six adults made it out safely, but the man still inside.

"It appears multiple people were living in the home that were not related and I am wondering if anyone even knew whether he was home or whether he was not home," said Chief Kenneth Barton, Lancaster City Fire Department. "The truck crew went in and started a search, they got to the second floor, found a bedroom that was locked, they forced entry and they found a gentleman still laying in bed," he added.

That man, whose name has not yet been released, was later pronounced dead at Lancaster General Hospital.

Many who knew the man called him 'Donna' and remember him as the friendly neighbor, who was always willing to lend an extra hand.

"If he saw anyone with bags in your hands, he would ask, can I help you with your bags and he even had a cane himself, he walked with a cane, so he was just very outgoing, very friendly, just a good person," added Sosa.

"I was crying this morning about everything when I got the news.." said Gloria Ramos, next door neighbor, " broke my heart, it really did."

Ramos says many on the street grew to love him.

"Like he would come out every morning and see me and say good morning sis, I love you, and I used to be like good morning bro, I love you too and I am going to miss that from him," said Ramos.

Chief Kenneth Barton with Lancaster City Fire Department says the fire was started by someone who forgot the stove was on; something he's seen frequently.

Last week, a 3-year-old girl in Harrisburg also died from a fire caused by unattended cooking.

That is why Chief Barton has some tips to share with hopes it doesn't happen to you.

"When you are cooking stay with it, or stay in the area, don`t go on the sofa and get comfortable," said Chief Barton, Lancaster City Fire Department. "Also make sure you have smoke detectors, we heard several in the house last night but we are not sure exactly how many were there and if they were up to code. Your life cannot be replaced," he added.

The estimated cost in damage from the fire about $100,000.

The Red Cross tells FOX43 they are assisting four families.

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Lightning-caused fires will be a concern over the next few days as thunderstorms enter the forecast. We stay warm to begin next week but cool into the 70s by Wednesday.
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