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72-year-old man dies day after trying to extinguish house fire

Posted at 12:31 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 12:33:59-05

SMITHSBURG, Md. (WMAR) — A 72-year-old man has died one day after trying to put out a fire at his Smithsburg home.

The fire broke out around 9:10 a.m. at 22028 Beaverbrook Drive in Washington County.

Jon H. Wilson initially escaped with his wife Renate, and their dog after hearing their smoke alarm going off.

But when he saw the fire was in the basement, Wilson went back inside to try and extinguish the flames.

Wilson reportedly came back out when a neighbor screamed for him, but went back in soon after.

An off-duty Smithsburg Volunteer firefighter arrived on scene before any other units, and went inside the basement without his turnout gear, and pulled Wilson back outside.

Wilson was taken to Medstar Washington Hospital Center with severe burns and smoke inhalation.

"This tragic incident is a heartbreaking but real example of why going back inside doesn’t guarantee you and your family will make it back out alive. Get out, stay out. Have working smoke alarms and an escape plan in place," stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.

It took 40 firefighters from multiple agencies in Maryland and Pennsylvania to put out the flames.

The fire caused an estimated $160,000 in damage. The cause is under investigation.