Man dies in Orlando house fire

Blaze reported on Lee Avenue near I-4

ORLANDO, Fla. – A home caught fire Monday morning in Orlando, killing a man, officials said.

The fire broke out around 7:40 a.m. at 111 N. Lee Ave. near West Washington Street, between Orange Blossom Trail and I-4.

Video from Sky 6 showed flames burning through the roof of the home.

Samuel Benton said he was inside the home when a space heater started the fire. He said he escaped but his father refused to leave.

"He woke me up and told me to get some water. I told him, 'You can't put this fire out. You got to get out of the house because the house is already old,'" Benton said. 

Benton said he tried to put the fire out and go back for his father, but he couldn't get to him.

"You can't drag him out of the house. If he don't wanna go, he's not going to go," Benton said.

The man was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with critical injuries. He later died, officials said. His name has not been released.

"He's a kindhearted guy. He loves the world, that's all," Benton said.

Firefighters said there was a lot of "clutter" in the home and bars on the windows, making it difficult to extinguish the fire and reach the man.

"He was in there for a considerable amount of time.  The intensity of the smoke and the contents of the smoke (are) detrimental to the human being," said Walter Lewis, district chief of the Orlando Fire Department.

While Benton said a space heater was to blame, the cause of the fire is under investigation. Officials said Monday evening that the fire was accidental. A news release noted that several space heaters were home, but it cannot be determined if the proximity of the space heater or a malfunction caused the fire.

Fire officials urged residents to take precautions during the winter.

"As cooler weather continues for Orlando, our fire department reminds our residents to use heating appliances with caution," the Orlando Fire Department said in a news release.  "This includes space heaters, fireplaces, generators, ovens or any other appliance that produces heat. 

"Additionally, having a working smoke alarm saves lives. This is the first line of defense to notify an occupant of smoke inside a residence. As part of our community outreach, Orlando firefighters will be going door to door (Tuesday) to install free smoke alarms in the neighborhood surrounding the Lee Avenue area."

Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for updates.


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