A 73-year-old man died in an overnight fire in a mobile home in the Lake Wylie area, said Trent Farris, public information officer with the York County Sheriff’s Office.
Officials are investigating the death, he said. The fire happened at 5972 Oakridge Road, at 11:50 p.m. Wednesday. The York County Coroner’s Office has identified the deceased man as Samuel Pettis.
A neighbor told The Herald Thursday morning that she was told by firefighters who responded that a kerosene heater in the home may have been knocked over. An official cause of the fire has not been released by authorities.
The neighbor, who was at the scene of the fire, said she called 911 at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when she saw the fire. The neighbor said she believed the resident was in the mobile home at the time.
Firefighters found Pettis in the home and pronounced him dead at the scene.
“The best we can tell at this point, the fire appears to be accidental,” Faris wrote.
The Bethel Volunteer Fire Department responded.
A neighbor, Annette Woods, said she has been a neighbor of Pettis for about 50 years.
“He was the nicest person you’d ever want to meet,” she said.
Pettis would help carry in her groceries, take the trash out or pick up the mail, Woods said.
“He helped anybody who needed help,” she said. “He was my best friend.”
Several of Pettis’ family members live nearby, including his daughter, Roslyn Pettis. Thursday morning, in tears looking at the charred remains of the mobile home, she said “he was always smiling and I know that everybody who knew him loved him.”
Nephew Wilfred Boyd said Pettis would help elderly neighbors with small jobs around the house, like yard work.
“I don’t think anyone could say anything bad about him,” he said. “He was a hard worker and a giver.”
The family plans to make arrangements at Faith Funeral Services in York.