Warren house fire claims life of terminally ill man - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Warren house fire claims life of terminally ill man

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By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News

Warren Firefighters respond to 911 calls around 8:20 Wednesday morning.  Heavy smoke at a home on Thomas near I-696 and Ryan.  A man, the homeowner, was trapped inside.

"A neighbor knocked on my door early in the morning.  I was asleep and he said that Kenny's house is on fire," says Andrew Kakos, who lives nearby.

They had already called 911.  Andrew called as well.

"Came out here seen there was just fire already took over the whole living room," says Andrew.

"Crews went in to fight the fire and also to try to do a rescue.  Did find the deceased in a deck by the kitchen.  It looked like he was apparently trying to go out the back door," says Warren Fire Chief, Dave Frederick.

The man and his dog are both dead.  The heavy smoke too much for Kenneth Hakala, a cancer patient, battling lymphoma for some time
. His mother recently deceased so Hakala lived alone.

Firefighters tell us they did find a walker inside.  Neighbors say Kenny was just so weak it's likely his illness just wouldn't allow him to escape.

"He had fell in the house a couple of weeks ago and he called me and I went to help him get up because he couldn't get up by himself," says Bill Clanton who lives nearby.

Hakala had told friends and neighbors doctors didn't expect him to live past January.  Although they all knew the end was near, no one expected it to be like this.

"He's the best neighbor.  I've been living here for 14 years and he's always been a good guy," says Andrew.

The fire started in the front room.  Was it a cigarette or a space heater?  Investigators are working to determine the cause.

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