Neighbors managed to rescue a sleeping 80-year-old man as smoke poured into his Escondido condominium on Saturday. Another neighbor was not so lucky. He perished in the fire.
Firefighters received a call about 4.40 a.m. from a resident at Holiday Gardens, a complex of one-story condominiums on Washington Ave.
“Went outside and the whole place was in flames. We were kind of the first witnesses on scene,” said Ryan Dew.
He heard banging coming from inside a burning condo.
“I guess he was locked in,” Dew said. "Knowing that household, there were a lot of items in that house."
Neighbors say the man had been living there for years and that he was a hoarder.
“Obviously there were banging sounds, so with that indication, he was stuck in there.”
Within minutes firefighters arrived. But it was too late.
“After the fire was knocked down and it was a little safer to go inside, fire personnel entered the condo and discovered a deceased person to the rear of the condo,” Escondido Police Lt. Craig Carter said.
Another man was sleeping when the fire broke out. Dew helped wake him up.
“We got him out. He's over 80 years old,” he said. “The smoke was starting to burn up in his place.”
Two units were destroyed by the fire. Two others were damaged. The cause of the fire is under investigation.