A man with a disability was killed in an early-morning house fire Tuesday in O’Fallon.
The victim is Ralph Homburg, 77, according to St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone. He died of smoke inhalation.
According to fire department reports, the blaze started at about 12:20 a.m. in a home at 721 Oak Hollow Court.
Three people were living in the house. The fire appeared to have started in the home’s former garage, which had been converted into a bedroom, O’Fallon Fire Department Chief Brent Saunders said.
“The victim’s room was on the second floor,” Saunders said. “The rescue crew went into the house in heavy smoke and heat conditions and were able to get him out 13 minutes after we received the call and hand him over to EMS. Unfortunately, he did not survive.”
Officials did not give details on the nature of Homburg’s disability, but they said it appears to have been a factor in his inability to escape.
Saunders said he believes the man, whose identity has not yet been released, died from smoke inhalation.
The other two occupants of the home, a man and a woman, were already out of the home when firefighters arrived. They were not hurt.
The cause of the fire was being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Saunders said it took 15-20 minutes after firefighters arrived to douse the flames.