Arsonist may be responsible for fire that killed elderly man - KCTV5

Arsonist may be responsible for fire that killed elderly man

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Homicide detectives are investigating after an elderly man died from an early morning house fire.

The fire started just before 5 a.m. Wednesday at a home located near East 41st Street and Wayne Avenue, which is two blocks east of The Paseo on the city's east side.

George Graham, 78, was in his bedroom at the back of the burning one-story, three-bedroom house. Firefighters got him out through a window, but there was nothing they could do. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Crews on the scene said the house was very energy efficient, which made it challenging for firefighters as they had to get through more insulation, thicker walls and doors.

"I woke to the sirens and then, when I woke up, I saw the glow of the fire. Me and my sister ran out and they were pulling my dad out of the back window. I guess he was already gone," said Jeffrey Graham, one of the victim's sons.

Through the charred debris, Jeffrey Graham still can't believe this was his father's home.

"It was like a nightmare," he said.

Now the home is gone and the fire took his father with it.

Family said George Graham was a father of six children and a grandfather to many more. His son, Jeffrey Graham, and his family live right next door. When they got outside, they saw paramedics performing CPR on George Graham, but it was too late.

When the call came in, firefighters quickly got to the scene and arson investigators and homicide detectives followed. Authorities do not believe the fire was an accident and are investigating it as arson.

Jeffrey Graham is convinced, whatever the reason behind the fire, it had nothing to do with his father.

"I don't believe they intentionally hurt my dad, I think he got caught up in something going on with other family members. Innocent bystanders always end up paying for the mistakes of other people," he said.

George Graham worked at General Motors for more than three decades before retiring.

While they don't know the who and the why behind this fire, one thing his family knows in their hearts is the pain and anger behind a loss they never saw coming.

"My dad didn't deserve this, nobody does," said Jeffrey Graham.

George Graham lived at the home with one of his sons, but that son wasn't home at the time of the fire.

Anyone with information is asked to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-8477 or the Homicide Unit at 816-234-5043.

Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.)  All rights reserved.

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