UPDATE: Officials unable to determine cause of Cleaton Road fire that killed 70-year-old man

Published: Jan. 6, 2018 at 2:50 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2018 at 4:02 PM EST
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(Source: CFD)
(Source: CFD)

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The man who died in a condo fire early Saturday morning has been identified as both the Forest Acres Fire Department and the Columbia Fire Department investigate the incident.

Fire officials said they received the call for the fire on the 6000 block of Cleaton Road in the Point Arcadia neighborhood shortly after 7 a.m.

The victim has been identified as 70-year-old Harold Morse. An autopsy indicated that the cause of death was due to smoke inhalation due to the fire.

"We had heavy fire all the way throughout this apartment so it got a pretty good head start on us," Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said.

Crews were able to douse the flames and reported that three condos were significantly damaged.  Six people are now without a home due to the fire.

Fire officials are calling the Morse a hero. They say Morse's wife told them he ran back into the burning home to save her from the fire. While she was able to make it out safely, he was not.

"She said that she thought that her husband was still on the inside," Chief Jenkins said. "Once we got it knocked down and began to search, we did discover one person on the inside."

A neighbor agrees with calling the victim a hero.

"I do, and if you knew them before, you would know that they were kind of a unit together. They loved each other very much," Michelle Cockfield said.

Officials closed Decker Boulevard between O'Neil Court and Cleaton Road for a short time Saturday morning as they fought the fire.

Officials were unable to determine the exact cause of the fire because of the damage that was done. However, officials believe a candle near the living room may have played a role in the fire based on the initial 911 call from the victim.

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