HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. – A man is dead after fire ripped through a home Tuesday afternoon in Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County, about eight miles southwest of Womelsdorf, Berks County.
More than 60 firefighters worked to knock out the flames and try to save the man at the residence in the 300 block of South Lancaster Avenue, but it was too late.
"It's a shame, he was a real nice guy," said neighbor Glenn Ginder. When Ginder got to the scene, he knew there was no way his older neighbor made it out alive.
"The flames were coming out all over," he said. "I mean, it went quick and spread quick. My son had the first truck here within minutes, putting water on it, but it was gone."
Ginder says people heard some kind of an explosion, and when firefighters from ten different departments arrived at the scene, they knew someone was inside.
However, the flames were so out of control that responders couldn't get inside right away to rescue the man.
"It's really sad," said Chief Nelson Leid of Schaefferstown Fire Company. "I mean, it's something that all fire companies at one time or another deal with. It's a sad situation when you get to a fire like this, and you can't get in to search for people, it really makes it tough."
The fire chief says the fire started in the basement and quickly spread to the first floor.
Neighbors say they will be mourning the death of their friend for quite some time.
"We all lost a good neighbor," said Ginder. "He's a good egg. It's a shame."
The state fire marshal is investigating exactly how the fire started.