PB House Fire Kills Quadriplegic Man

By R. Stickney
|  Thursday, Apr 28, 2011  |  Updated 6:09 AM PDT
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PB House Fire Kills Quadriplegic Man

NBCSanDiego

Firefighters arrived to the apartments located at 2025 Diamond Street Wednesday afternoon.

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A man who was a quadriplegic died in a house fire in Pacific Beach Wednesday according to San Diego firefighters.

Neighbors said they heard screams coming from a second story apartment on fire around 2 p.m. near Diamond Street and Olney Street north of Garnet Avenue.

Crews arrived to find flames and smoke showing. They were able to rescue one person from inside the building.

San Diego Fire and Rescue spokesperson Maurice Luque said one person died at the scene.

There is sadness in the neighborhood, as the man who died was someone who had lived here for four to five years, someone nearby residents knew had been bedridden for some time.

Neighbors described the man as a 43-year-old chain smoker.

The fire was confined to a bedroom and a hallway in an apartment building. Crews had the fire out within 15 minutes of arriving Luque said.

Firefighters say there was a brown-out in effect at the time of the fire. The engine with water that would have come from Pacific Beach was not operating, so an engine from La Jolla was sent causing little over a minute delay in response time.

However, fire investigators later told NBCSanDiego that brownouts are not to blame for the man's death. They believe the man died almost immediately after he tried to light a cigarette while using oxygen.

The name of the victim has not been released but neighbors say he used to come out in his wheelchair and talk then became bedridden.

The man did have a care giver -- but firefighters say she was not there at the time.

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