PONTIAC (WWJ) – A two-alarm fire has taken the life of an elderly Pontiac man.
Next door neighbor Jacques Gwin said he was getting his daughter ready for school Wednesday morning when he noticed some people standing outside. He went out to investigate and saw that his neighbor’s house was ablaze.
Gwin said he knew the homeowner, identified as 96-year-old Obie Bridges, was in the house.
“So, I ran to the front door. I kicked the front door in. I went in the living room and I was screaming for him and I got no response,” Gwin told WWJ Newsradio 950.
“So, I went a little further but the smoke was thick that I couldn’t go any further. It was too thick and too much fire,” he said. Gwin then called the fire department and the man’s son.
Battalion Chief Brad Riggs said they got the call just after 8 a.m. and said crews battling the blaze had to break holes through the roof. Bridges was found dead on the first floor where Riggs said the first had started.
Younger neighborhood residents describe Bridges as someone who watched out for them. Neighbor Andre Benton said the kids called him “Money Bags” because he always gave them money for ice cream whenever the ice cream truck came around.
Benton called Bridge’s death tragic.
“It’s real sad. You know, for the old guy not to able to get out the house, you know what I’m sayin’ … ‘Cause he was on a cane. You know, he walked with a cane,” Benton said.
Bridges had lived in his home on Pearsall Street near Franklin Road for more than 30 years.