|Published:||Jun 16, 2012 6:30 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 17, 2012 4:26 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A man died in a house fire in San Carlos Park early Saturday morning.
The Lee County Sheriff's Office has identified him as 31-year-old Joseph Waddell of Bonita Springs.
The San Carlos Park Fire Department responded to the call on Wren Road around 6:00 Saturday morning.
Fire officials say the house was engulfed in flames when they arrived.
Three people made it out safely but they got word one person was still inside.
Fire fighters went into the burning home twice trying to find the man, but the flames took over.
22-year-old Hunter Preston, his 2 1/2-year-old son, and his finance were all asleep when the fire broke out in their home.
Preston says, "if you can imagine just being totally asleep and relaxed and waking up to your house completely on fire. I opened the door and just a big wall of black smoke hit me in the face."
Preston had burns on his feet, but a friend spending the night, Joseph Waddell, did not make it out.
"It was crazy, it had a mind of it's own and just took over everything," he says. "I couldn't see much of anything after I walked out and saw him because the smoke is so thick and when I walked out my entire face and body was black."
Preston believes his friend was trying to put out the fire, and prevent it from spreading to the front of the house where his bedroom was.
He says he will remember the good times they spent together, in the short time they were friends. "We had gotten close and he was turning his life around and doing well and I can't believe he's not here and didn't come out."
Neighbor Aura Ricaurte saw the whole thing play out. "We heard a pop, like a small explosion, then the dogs started to bark and we knew something was wrong, then my daughter saw the flames through the sliding door."
She says it was a scary morning, and she was worried the fire would spread to her house. "Anything can happen in seconds, we can lose everything and it is very scary. "it was horrifying seeing those flames out so high in the sky," she says.
The fire department is still investigating the cause of the blaze, but it does not appear suspicious. The Red Cross is assisting the family with a place to stay for the next few days.
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