Feltonville fire kills man in wheelchair

February 26, 2013 10:29:55 AM PST
Philadelphia fire officials are trying to figure out the cause of a deadly blaze in the city's Feltonville section overnight.

A man who had lost both his legs and used a wheelchair died in the house fire.

The long time partner of the man who died trying to save him remains in the hospital with burns to her throat.

A firefighter was also injured but expected to be okay

It was 4:15 a.m. Tuesday when fire crews responded to a blaze in the 100 block of Eleanor Street. Inside the home 66-year-old Jim Greg, a double leg amputee, was trapped.

Jim's partner, Linda Payer, could hear his screams from inside as the fire spread throughout the home.

"She was on the porch screaming that Jim was in the house and he's on fire," neighbor Jules Pedrogo tells Action News. "...I went around the side of the house, the alleyway, broke the window and grabbed the garden hose and was spraying it in. But I could tell by the way the flames were coming out of the window that there was no hope for him."

Greg died in the fire. His body was discovered in the first floor dining room area.

Paramedics rushed Payer to the hospital for smoke inhalation. She explained to her sister, Dot Sommerer, those terrifying moments.

Dot tells Action News, "She said, 'I tried to save him.' She said, 'I just couldn't.' She was trying to pull him out because he said, 'I'm on fire."

Payer told her sister when she ran for help, the door locked behind her.

Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said crews knocked out the fire quickly and believe they know the cause.

"The space heater is what the wife is telling us that she found on fire," said Ayers. "She tried to douse that."

Ayers says they found no working smoke detectors in the home and he is now urging the public to be vigilant about fire safety.

"We find the same situation over and over again: folks who are not taking care of themselves, who are not putting the smoke alarms up," explained Ayers.

In response to this deadly blaze fire officials will be in the neighborhood Tuesday afternoon handing out lithium powered smoke detectors. It is the law in Philadelphia to have them in your home.