Man found dead in Middletown home following house fire identified

Man found dead in Middletown home following house fire

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (FOX19)- A man was found dead inside a Middletown home after a fire happened Saturday morning.

It happened just before 8 a.m. on Eleventh Avenue.

The Butler County Coroner’s Office says Terry Matthew Frazier, 60, died of smoke inhalation. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:13 a.m.

A neighbor, Donald Sims, was outside of his home around 7:30 a.m. when he noticed smoke coming from the house across the street.

“When I got close to his house I started smelling smoke and burning wood,” said Sims. “I started banging on doors and the windows,” said Sims.

Sims says when he didn't get an answer, he kicked down the door to try to save his neighbor and friend while another person called for help.

“I couldn’t see anything except smoke. Smoke was all around... I couldn’t see anything,” said Sims. “I was actually crawling and feeling for him. Hopefully I could touch him and grab him and pull him out.”

Sims says the smoke was so overwhelming that he had to escape the house without Frazier.

By that time firefighters arrived at the scene.

"When we first got here we saw smoke showing from the exterior. We did not see any fire," said Deputy Chief Brent Dominy with the Middletown Fire Department. "We have in with a hose and did a search and rescue."

He said that it was a small fire and that crews were able to knock out the flames quickly.

Once the fire was out, firefighters found Frazier.

"When we went to remove the victim we made the determination that we were not going to remove him at that time," said Chief Dominy.

Deputy Chief Dominy says that because Frazier was not a viable rescue, they had to call the coroner to remove the body.

Sims says he is still in disbelief that he lost a neighbor and a friend.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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