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Investigators Work to Determine Cause of Fatal House Fire

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BRECKSVILLE, Ohio -- Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fatal fire that took the life of an 87-year-old man.

It happened around 9 p.m. on Thursday in the 6000 block of Sprague Road.

Rescue crews were called to the scene after reports of an explosion. When they arrived, they found Ben and Alice Pfister's home on fire.

"I heard a big boom. I came running out and the house was completely engulfed. You couldn't run up and kick the door in. It was just a big giant boom," said neighbor Ty Weiss.

Alice was already outside when crews got there, but Ben was still inside. They were eventually able to get him out, but he didn't survive. He died later at the hospital. The medical examiner said he died from smoke inhalation.

"It's very hard to process. I am very thankful that Alice is okay. I wish it would've been the same for Ben," said neighbor Gloria Nowak.

fireNowak lived next door to the couple. She said Ben was well-known in the neighborhood.

"He was a wonderful man and he'll be very, very, missed," she said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Dominion checked its gas line to the home, and a rep said it appeared to be okay. The home is considered a total loss.

Click for past stories on the fire.