One person killed in Cleveland house fire; Two other families escape

CLVELAND-- One person was killed in an early-morning house fire.

It happened in the 2100 block of West 98th Street just before 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The victim was found on the third floor of the house and taken to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.  fatalfireWe spoke with some of the people who were able to escape the fire. They told FOX 8 News there were eight people in the multi-family home at the time, including a 4-year-old girl.

A man living on the second floor, Jamar Jason Ferrell, said he was awake when he started smelling fire and saw the smoke. He quickly woke up his family and got his 4-year-old daughter out safely. He then went downstairs to wake another family, who also got out safely.

He and another man, Jerry Carpenter, then tried to save their neighbor upstairs.

"I went downstairs to find a pry bar," Carpenter said. "Jamar and I then tried to get into the third floor apartment. We yelled, banged on the door, but had no response."

The smoke then got too bad so they had to get out of the house. The Cleveland Fire Department was able to get to the man on the third floor, but he did not make it.

The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim as 44-year-old Christopher Penman, of Cleveland.

"He was just a good person," Carpenter said about his upstairs neighbor. "He never bothered anybody, he was a good fashioned neighbor, a good person"

Jamar Jason Ferrell agreed with Carpenter.

"He was a good neighbor," Ferrell said. "He always had a helping hand if we needed anything from him."

The families are not allowed back into their home right now. Red Cross is on scene helping the displaced families.

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire.