LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - Firefighters are investigating the cause of a house fire in the 1800 block of East 30th Street in Lorain. Crews were called to the home around 11:15 a.m. Friday to a structure fire so intense, firefighters were unable to go inside the home.
Enrique Otero, 90, was found in the basement of the home around 6 p.m.
His son, Henry, was able to escape safely. Firefighters brought him inside a neighbor's home and gave him oxygen.
Henry says his father came out with him when the fire started, but then ran back into the house. Family members believe he was either looking for the cat or trying to put out the fire.
"He went back in and he was yelling at him to come back out, and he never came back out," said Otero's son-in-law, Lou Acosta.
Neighbor Hannah Wynne could see the tragic event unfold from her window.
"Ran to the window and there was smoke out of the window," Wynne said. "Then I heard my neighbor screaming for help apparently his dad was trapped inside."
Firefighters refused to leave the scene until they found the elderly man. It took them five hours but they finally found him in the basement.
Wynne is devastated for the family and can't believe the man who would love to garden and shared his vegetables is gone.
"I just can't imagine what Henry is going through losing your house and your dad in a matter of minutes."
Acosta said Enrique was a retired Ford worker who was looking forward to going to the Cleveland Auto Show. In a statement, family said Enrique was born in Puerto Rico and immigrated to the US in the 1950's, and was a devoted member of Temple Bethel.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.