A 95-year-old man has died from his injuries after fire heavily damaged his Wichita home early Friday morning, authorities said.
The fire was reported at 5:09 a.m. at 844 S. Volutsia, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said. That’s just north of Lincoln between Grove and Hillside.
The man was found alive inside the house and taken to the burn unit of Via Christi Hospital St. Francis. He later died.
Jessica Wilson watched fire investigators work meticulously from through her screen door across the street, her eyes brimming with tears.
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“I can’t believe he passed away,” Wilson said, clutching a small dog to her chest as if it were a teddy bear.
The man only lived there for the past several months, she said, but he changed her life.
“I would always go for walks,” Wilson said. “He would be sitting out in his chair and wave. He’d tell us his little dog was an attack dog, so to be careful. He was just kidding.
“He was so sweet and adorable. He made your day just sitting out there and looking at us and waving.”
She never learned his name, she said, but she didn’t have to know his name to know he was a kind person.
“I wish we would have known him more,” she said. “But he didn’t talk very loud and I didn’t want him to have to shout all the time.
“He made my day — I don’t know why. Just seeing him sitting out there in the sunlight...”
She would tell him to stay outside as long as he could, that the sunlight would help him “stay longer.”
“When he was out there, I knew it would be a good day — and it would be,” she said.
Damage caused by the fire has been set at $70,000, but investigators have yet to determine the cause.
The 3-bedroom, 2-bath house was built in 1944, records indicate.