HAGERSTOWN — A man died in a Hagerstown house fire after he went back inside to try and find a family pet.
The fire was initially observed and called into 911 at about 2:21 a.m. Thursday by a neighbor. Nearly 50 firefighters responded from Washington, Frederick, Franklin, and Adam counties to bring the fire under control within 30 minutes.
Officials say seven people lived in the home, and six were able to escape uninjured.
Investigators concluded the victim, who lived in the basement of the home, was exiting the home when he told family members he was returning to the basement in hopes of locating a family pet.
According to investigators, the victim was never seen again.
While they were extinguishing the fire, firefighters found the body of the victim on the exterior front porch of the home.
Investigators believe the victim had self extricated through the basement door where he collapsed.
Deputy State Fire Marshals have determined the fire originated on the exterior front porch. Investigators concluded a smoke alarm was present and activated during the fire.
"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.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will confirm the identity and cause of death for the victim.