Man, grandmother die in house fire as he tries to save her

AP News
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Posted: Apr 04, 2015 3:14 PM

REVLOC, Pa. (AP) — A man and his grandmother were killed in a Pennsylvania house fire after he ran back into the residence to try to save her, authorities say.

Fire crews in Cambria County were called to the Revloc duplex Friday morning and found much of the building engulfed in flames. Chief Deputy Coroner Jeffrey Leeds said at least seven people were in the duplex and all, but one, were able to get out safely.

Witnesses said Jake Lewis, 24, re-entered the house to rescue 65-year-old Anna LaJudice. But "smoke got the best of Jake and Annie," Lewis' father, Robert LaJudice, told The (Altoona) Mirror.

Their bodies were later recovered. The deputy coroner said autopsies determined that both died from smoke and gas inhalation.

Revloc Fire Chief Greg Sloan said a state police fire marshal told him a wood burner may have sparked the blaze.

Neighbor Kathy Ott said Lewis was a kind man who had just last week helped her move a heavy bookcase. She said she wasn't surprised by his re-entering the house to try to save someone.

"He'd never leave his grandmother," she said.

As crews worked to tear down the rest of the home, Ott said she planned to attend a church service and say a prayer for the family.

"Today's Good Friday. God's with them," she said.

Revloc is about 72 miles east of Pittsburgh.