Okeechobee man dies in house fire

OKEECHOBEE–A house fire in Oak Park claimed a life Saturday evening.

According to a report from Okeechobee County Fire/Rescue,  at 11: 24 p.m. on Feb. 20,  firefighters responded to a reported structure fire at 3595 SW 21st St in Oak Park. Initial reports indicated that there were possibly two people trapped in the house.

Upon arrival, units found a concrete block residential structure fully involved with fire venting from the windows and the roof. The fire was aggressively attacked by firefighters using several hoses lines. Once the fire was knocked down, fire crews were able to enter the home and found one adult fire fatality. The home along with its contents are a total loss.

The preliminary investigation indicates the cause maybe from the use of gasoline to start a fire in the fireplace. The use of gasoline caused the fire to spread quickly. Due to the rapid intensification of the fire, only two of the three family members were able to escape the fire. The home was equipped with working smoke detectors.

Two engines, one rescue, two water tenders and a Deputy Chief from Okeechobee County Fire Rescue responded along with one engine from the City of Okeechobee Fire Department to the incident.

The Florida State Fire Marshal was called to the scene and is conducting the investigation.

Fire units remained on scene for more than four hours to mop up hot spots and to assist the State Fire Marshal Investigator. The Red Cross was called to the scene and is assisting the residents with any needs.

Officials have not yet released the name of the victim, however, a neighbor has started a GoFundMe site for the family, which contains some information.

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