Blind man, dog killed in house fire - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Blind man, dog killed in house fire

Scene of deadly house fire. (Source: WMC Action News 5) Scene of deadly house fire. (Source: WMC Action News 5)

A blind Memphis man died Wednesday afternoon when he couldn't get out of his burning home.

The fire happened at a home on Ryan Street near Rangeline Road.

The man's family members identified the victim as Robert Earl. They said three other people made it out of the home safely.

"It's a terrible thing, man. It's killing me inside," Earl's brother-in-law Darrell Skinner said.

Shells' brother Frankie said the fire started because of a cigarette.

"(He was) smoking; dropped the cigarette in the chair he was in. He was blind--can't see. The chair caught on fire; blaze from the chair lit the room up. He went in the closet, thinking he was outside and got trapped," Shell said.

He said he did all he could to save his brother.

"I went in. I went in there and couldn't find him. I couldn't find him," Shells said.

One of the people who escaped was Earl's brother. He said when he realized Earl had not made it out, he tried to break a window and go back in to save him.

A dog inside the home also died in the fire.

According to Memphis Fire Department Deputy Chief Keith Staples, one person was treated for smoke inhalation. 

"One of the male adults that escaped prior to our arrival was treated for minor smoke inhalation here on the scene," Staples said. 

Earl's brother Alcus Shells said he is heartbroken to lose his brother, but is taking comfort in his faith.

"I know that the good Lord came and got my brother. I know that. Because while he was in the fire, you didn't hear him holler, scream or say nothing'," Alcus said.

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