MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A home in Myakka City went up in flames early Sunday morning, killing a 65-year-old paraplegic man.
It happened on the corner of Seminole and Arcadia Avenue.
“You don’t expect this to happen, especially at six on a Sunday morning,” said Lenny Cichewicz, who lives next door.
He had stepped outside for a quick moment that morning before
“It was quiet. I figured I’d go back and lay down…10.. 15 minutes later… just pop pop pop pop and screaming.”
Cichewicz ran out and saw his neighbor’s home engulfed in flames.
“All I could see was the fire just bursting out of the house that way. I ran around and then called 911,” Cichewicz said.
Cichewicz’s father in law attempted to break a side window in order to save the elderly man.
“The propane tank was right there. As soon as I saw that, I had to yell at him to get away, and there was just nothing to do until the first responders got here,” said Cichewicz.
A spokesperson with Myakka City Fire Rescue told 8 On Your Side the man was found dead in his bed. His wife made it out okay, but a family member said the step-son was burned trying to save his dad’s life.
Cichewicz said this family lived on their block for decades and everyone who knew them loved them.
“Just been apart of this fixture for years. It’s devastating to know that this happened to them,” Cichewicz said.