CLEVELAND — A homeowner is dead and his girlfriend is in the hospital after a fire broke out in the couple's Doris Avenue home around 9 AM on Monday.
Firefighters responded to the 3400 block of Doris Avenue on the city's West Side for reports of a house fire.
UPDATE House Fire on Doris south of Munn: 1 confirmed fatality. Crews fighting through clutter making search & rescue and fire fighting a challenge. pic.twitter.com/2u4pFkZ8HT— ClevelandFire (@ClevelandFire) December 23, 2019
A female resident, who jumped from a second story window, was transported from the scene by Cleveland EMS.
A male resident was confirmed dead, according to Cleveland fire.
Cleveland fire said they had to fight through clutter, which made rescue efforts difficult.
"The fire was deep-seeded," said Lt. Mike Norman of Cleveland Fire. "The fire started on the first floor and spread up to the second floor so to have the fire inside of all that clutter made it more challenging from both a search and rescue perspective and to actually fight the fire."
Neighbors were alerted to the flames when they heard the woman screaming from the backyard.
"There was so much smoke and so many flames at that point, I was trying to get some sort of response, so when the firefighters showed up you could kind of point them in the right direction, but I never heard anything," said Cody Dieckman, who lives next door to the home.
Neighbors said the victim grew up in the house and lived there for decades.
"He told me stories of what this neighborhood was like back then when he was a kid when he used to run around here," said Dieckman.
"It's really tough, especially when you know the person like this and you've known him for so long," said John Orlosky, who lived next to the victim for 36 years. "It's a sad story."
Neighbors said the victim was in his late 60s. Many said they offered to help him clean up inside the home, but that the man, whose name has not been released by the medical examiner's office, refused.
"I feel really bad about it," said Orlosky. "It just kind of breaks my heart. It really does."
Investigators have not determined how the fire started, but they believe it was an accident.
The victim's girlfriend will spend the night in the hospital but is expected to recover. Firefighters say she was injured when she jumped from the window.