WESTWEGO -- Clarence Allen heard the shout for help come from the shotgun double down the block from his home.
“Little girl come out hollering for somebody to help,” he said Monday night as he watched firefighters begin their investigation into a fire that left a wheelchair-bound man dead inside his home.
It was about 7 p.m. when Allen said he rushed to the home in the 300 block of Avenue A. The sight inside horrified him. He said it appeared the man’s electric wheelchair might have sparked and engulfed him.
“He was ablaze in the doorway. We tried to get him out the chair, and he just fell over. There was nothing we could do for him,” a somber but frustrated Allen said. “I was terrified, because he can’t walk.”
Allen said he was able to get within feet of the man before the chair “blazed up.”
Mark Hahn rushed into the home with Allen. He said he was sorry there was nothing either man could do to help. “I wish I could’ve done more, you know? But I couldn’t.”
The victim’s name was not immediately released but he is believed to be in his 60s, said Keith Bouvier, a spokesman for Westwego Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.
Firefighters arrived to find black smoke pouring out from the front door, Bouvier said. They were able to put out the fire about 10 minutes later and found the victim in the back of the home.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.