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One dead in Saturday morning fire in Elkhart

Man dies in Magnolia Avenue fire Saturday morning

Posted on Dec. 8, 2012 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Dec. 8, 2012 at 4:29 p.m.

ELKHART — An elderly man died in a fire at 1308 Magnolia Ave. Saturday morning, according to the Elkhart Fire Department.

Firefighters were called to the house shortly after 8 a.m. and arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the rear corner of the home.

Firefighters entered the home and made their way to the master bedroom which was on fire. The flames were brought under control at 8:41 a.m., according to an EFD press release.

Cuauhtemoc Santilla, whose family lives next door, said that Dan Gagax’s mother-in-law, who was visiting from the Philippines, came and knocked on his door Saturday morning after she escaped from the house and told him Gagax was still in the house.

Santilla then went over to the house to attempt to save Gagax but said the smoke was too thick to see through. After he emerged from the house, the mother-in-law informed him she had not called 911 so he made the call.

He then went back to the house with a flashlight and fire extinguisher before firefighters arrived but still could not get Gagax out of the home. Firefighters arrived soon after.

Gagax’s wife, Connie, was at work Saturday morning and was picked up and brought to the scene.

One firefighter also sustained a minor injury while fighting the fire.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.


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