Man killed in house fire on Bonfield Place identified

A man died of smoke inhalation and thermal burns in a house fire Tuesday morning.

A fire started in the home on Bonfield Place around 1:30 a.m.

When the South Bend Fire Department arrived, the kitchen and living room were on fire and at least one person was trapped inside.

"By the time our crews arrived on scene the house was already engulfed in flames," South Bend Fire Chief Stephen Cox.

Two people escaped from the home without injuries.

"Two occupants were able to self-rescue from the basement of the house via a basement window, which was very small. They had to wiggle out of it," Cox said.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while searching for the trapped victim.

"During search and rescue operations one adult male was recovered from the structure and transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead," said Cox. "Two firefighters also received minor injuries while rescuing the adult male."

The victim was identified as 23-year-old Shawki Henderson. He died at the hospital.

Henderson's preliminary cause of death is smoke inhalation and thermal burns. An autopsy will be conducted Wednesday morning.

Firefighters say the fire originated in the kitchen but its cause is still under investigation.

Cox said it appears the home did not have any smoke detectors.

"Preliminarily, it does not appear that there were any working fire alarms in the building or smoke detectors," Cox said.

Firefighters will be going door to door in the area next week to ensure residents have working smoke detectors. If they don't, firefighters will assist the residents so they can stay safe.

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