Officials are investigating a fire that killed a man and displaced several people in Delaware County early Saturday morning.
The fire broke out at a two-story home around 1:30 a.m. on the 1500 block of Rainer Road in Chester Township. Joe Wigington, who lives next door, says it wasn't the blaze that woke him up but instead the sound of a car alarm.
"I heard a car alarm, someone beeping, saying 'get out of the house,'" Wigington said. "The house was just up in flames."
Officials say one person, later identified as 39-year-old Shawn Brodie, was trapped inside the house. Brodie suffered soot and smoke inhalation as well as extensive thermal burns. He died before firefighters made their way inside.
“With a lot of heavy fire volume inside the house it made it very difficult making entrance,” said Jeff Comisiak of the Chester Township Fire Department. “Once we made entrance inside the house it was searching for the victim at the same time that made it very challenging.”
Firefighters were eventually able to place the flames under control. Officials say there was heavy smoke and water damage at four of the adjacent homes.
Neighbors tell NBC10 Brodie was quiet and never bothered anyone. In spite of the tragedy, Wigington says things could have been even worse if not for the unidentified Good Samaritan who alerted the neighborhood with the car alarm.
"It was smart of the lady to turn the alarm on," said Wigington. "If not there might have been more casualties."
The Red Cross is currently assisting 14 people who were displaced by the fire. Investigators have not yet revealed the cause.
The Red Cross will also hold a fire safety walkthrough today at 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Rainer and Powell Streets. Volunteers will distribute over 100 safety bags to residents.