HAMBURG, Pa. - By all accounts, Robert Deibert was someone you wanted to know.
"We'd just sit down there and talk and laugh," said neighbor Diane Moyer, recalling the time spent with Deibert at Hamburg's 3rd Street Cafe. "Bob was always in there."
"He took care of everybody," said another neighbor, Angie Singh.
Things in Hamburg won't be the same.
"It's the worst thing," Singh said. "Just the worst."
Deibert succumbed to smoke inhalation when his home on Windsor Street caught fire early Friday morning.
"My daughter saw it from the bathroom and said Bob's house is on fire," Singh recalled.
Two borough police officers got the call and rushed to the scene, but their attempts to save Deibert were thwarted by heavy smoke and high heat.
"Ofc. [Keven] Chase and the chief [Anthony Kuklinski] really made a concerted effort to try to save him," said Hamburg Mayor George Holmes.
Firefighters equipped with breathing equipment managed to find the 71-year-old Deibert and pull him out of his burning home, but he died a short time later.
"Fly high, Bob," Singh said.
Now, Singh, Moyer, and the mayor are left with memories of the time they shared with Deibert, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War.
"My dog's best friend," Singh said. "They played tennis out back all the time, so she's really going to miss him."
"He was such a nice guy, and we used to kid around with him," Moyer said.
"He came down here, in fact, to the police very often and would talk to them, and they were used to seeing him around, so it does affect them," Holmes said.
A state police fire marshal is working to determine what sparked the fire.
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