Jimmy Robinson was in tears Saturday morning as he sat on the front steps of the duplex he shared with his roommate.
Charred remains of the fire that took his roommate’s life and ravaged the duplex in the 100 block of West Zimmerly six hours earlier surrounded Robinson.
“He was a good man,” Robinson said. “Tell everyone in your story that he was a good guy.”
Authorities haven’t identified the victim of the fire at the duplex, just south of Lincoln and west of Main, other than to say he was a 41-year-old man. But Robinson said the man was his roommate, Cliff Davis.
Fire crews arrived about 2:30 a.m. to find flames coming out of a front window of the duplex, Wichita fire investigator Mark Reibenspies said.
A neighbor told fire crews that a person was inside. After crews brought the man outside, he was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis in critical condition with burns and smoke inhalation, Reibenspies said.
The man died later at the hospital, he said.
Robinson wasn’t at home at the time of the fire but arrived about 6 a.m. to find the home gutted by fire and charred debris pulled out into the front yard.
“There was no one here,” he said. “The fire was already out.”
Shortly after he arrived, fire crews returned to make sure there wasn’t anything smoldering, Robinson said.
“They told me Cliff was in pretty bad shape when they got him to the hospital,” he said.
Robinson said Davis worked as a carpet installer.
Reibenspies said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but Robinson said he thinks he knows what happened.
“Just look at that couch,” he said, pointing to a blackened couch in the front yard. “It’s burned to a crisp. Nothing else is burned like that.
“That’s the couch where Cliff always slept. I’m not a fire investigator, but it looks like he fell asleep with a cigarette.
“Man, I hate this. Cliff was a really good guy.”
The Red Cross was making arrangements for temporary housing for Robinson.
No one else was injured, Reibenspies said. He added that there wasn’t a working smoke alarm in the duplex.
Damage estimate was put at $40,000 to the structure and $5,000 to the contents, Reibenspies said.