Fayetteville man killed in house fire remembered as a good neighbor

Thursday, July 2, 2015
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Neighbors pulled a 55-year-old man from a burning home late Tuesday night, but he was later pronounced dead at the hospital

FAYETTEVILLE (WTVD) -- Authorities in Fayetteville are investigating what caused a fatal house fire late Tuesday night.

Around 11:45 p.m., fire crews were called to the 500 block of Warmsprings Drive off Santa Fe Drive in the Ponderosa Community when heavy flames were seen coming out of a single-story house.

Residents said 63-year-old Elbert G. Christen Sr. was a good neighbor and friend.

"I can't believe it," said former neighbor Hilda Henderson. "His wife and him always been nice people, very nice people. He was a very mannered young man."

Firefighters said Christen was home alone when the fire started.

A neighbor pulled the Vietnam veteran from the burning house, but Christen was later declared dead at the hospital.

Several other neighbors called 911.

911 Operator: "Do you see flames or smoke?"

Caller: "Yes, it's coming from the kitchen."

A second 911 caller said there was a lot of smoke and flames.

Caller: "My fiancee was trying to bang on the door, but nobody answers."

A young neighbor said Christen was always willing to help others.

"He taught me how to ride my bike," said the neighbor who did not want to be identified.

Firefighters said the house is a total loss. They haven't determined what sparked the deadly blaze, but said it appears the fire started in the kitchen.

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