California Man Dies Trying To Save Cat From Fire

Firefighters were not immediately aware that someone was still inside


Authorities say a man who died in a Golden Hill house fire early Thursday may have gone back in the burning home to save a cat.

NEW IMAGES: Man Dies Trying To Save Cat From Fire

Create A Fire Escape Plan

The fire started at about 3:30 a.m. in a home in the 1800 block of Granada Avenue. Investigators said the blaze started when a floor heater ignited a couch that had been placed over it.

Although there were no smoke alarms in the house, a man and a woman who were staying there apparently made it outside, fire officials said. The man apparently went back in the home to rescue a cat that was still inside, Division Chief Jeff Carle told NBC 7/39. Meanwhile, the woman went door to door in the neighborhood trying to get help.

Someone called the fire department, and when firefighters arrived, smoke was pouring from the home, but no flames were visible, NBC 7/39 reported. Firefighters were not immediately aware that someone was still inside. When they found the man, paramedics tried to resuscitate him, but he died. Firefighters did save the cat.

"He was going to go back through the house looking for a cat -- maybe a couple of cats ... something like that -- and that's the last she saw of him," said neighbor Charlie Dipietro.

The woman, who escaped from the house through a broken window, was taken to a local hospital to treat a cut foot, officials said.

The couple arrived in town on Wednesday night from Las Vegas. A neighbor told NBC 7/39 that the victim's brother rents the house, and he is expected to return home tonight.

Copyright 2005 by NBCSandiego.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.