It’s the call no firefighter wants to receive — a fire at a family member’s home.

When the Birmingham Fire Department arrived on scene, an immediate extraction was impossible because of the exposed homes on either side of the fire.

Fireman Willie Sumlin told WIAT News he was the first on scene, and when he arrived flames were already coming through the windows. He said the initial call had come in for an address across the street and he didn’t realize until he arrived on scene that it was the house he had grown up in that was on fire.

After about 45 minutes, and with the blaze under control, firefighters, including the victim’s brother, discovered the man inside was not able to escape and died at the scene.

The victim, identified by his firefighter brother is Larry Sumlin, 61, was trapped in the back bedroom of the home. According to AL.com, a neighbor tried to rescue the man, but was unable to do so. The Good Samaritan received minor burns, and did not have to be taken to the hospital.

“It’s something every firefighter dreads, responding to a call involving a family member,” Capt. Bryan Harrell told AL.com.

The Captain said the cause of the fire has not been determined, but speculates it may have originated in the kitchen.

Capt. Harrell said the scene became emotional when news of the fire broke out and other family members rushed to the scene.

“This is something that doesn’t happen very often,” he told AL.com, but it does happen. “According to the firefighters here, it was an emotional scene.”

 

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