Friends and family are mourning a man who was killed in a house fire in Darby Township, reports NBC Philadelphia.
The fire started early Monday evening at a home on the 1000 block of West Jackson Street. Neighbors told NBC10 they heard the sound of an explosion.
“It was an explosion,” said Amie Soya-Bongay. “I heard a big explosion. And then we just came outside and saw a blazing fire.”
During the fire, surrounding homes were evacuated as fire crews worried that a blue flame, still burning in the rubble, meant gas was leaking, creating the possibility of a second explosion.
“He just came and said, ‘There’s a gas leak and they’re gonna evacuate us to the township house,'” said Vance Gordon, another neighbor.
Firefighters say the burning home and yard was crowded with the owner’s possessions, making it difficult to fight the flames. By the time the fire was placed under control, a man inside the home had died.
“Right now we’re in the mode of recovery of one body of an individual who we’ve determined has succumbed to the fire itself,” said Darby Township Fire Chief Tyrone Fitzgerald.
Officials have not yet revealed the victim’s identity. Neighbors believe however the victim was an elderly man who was beloved on the block and known as a junk collector and a “tinkerer.” A relative of the man told NBC10 she had just dropped him off at the home shortly before the fire broke out. As he walked inside, he told her he was going to “work on the heat.”
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