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Wife of porch fire victim speaks out

The widow of a man who was fatally injured in a fire spoke to ABC57 about what she believes sparked the fire and what you can do to prevent a similar accident.

73-year-old Charlie Brower was injured in a fire on his porch June 21st and died the following Friday.

His widow, Judith Brower wanted to share his story in an effort to keep someone else from going through the same thing.

“I just hope and pray this doesn't happen to another soul,” said Brower.

She recalled what happened that day almost two weeks ago.

“Sunday morning I was asleep and about 7 o'clock, I heard him screaming. I jumped out of bed and ran to the doors in the living room. His shorts were on fire. I pulled them off of him and immediately called 911,” she added.

She said he would typically get up around 6 a.m., have coffee and watch TV and smoke a cigarette on their enclosed porch.

To her knowledge that is what happened when the fire started.

“As far as they know, they said it was a propane explosion. We don't know, only Charlie knows,” she said.

She said that 60-percent of her husband's body was burned and was told he had a 1-percent chance of survival.

“He was burned from head to toe. They said he burned even on the bottom of his feet,” added Brower.

The Concord Township Fire Department responded to the scene and firefighters said it appeared that the knob to their propane grilled was turned on.

Brower said she and her husband never thought twice about keeping their grill on their enclosed porch area. She wants others to learn from her experience.

“Please put it as far away as you can. Be very careful as I have learned since this that those things will ignite in a minute,” she said.

Firefighters also said that having flammable containers like gas or propane tanks are dangerous.

“One little spark could cause a whole big fire. It's a huge safety issue if you have something like that, gasoline cans, LP tanks, things like that, if you have them stored inside I recommend highly take them outside,” said Fire Investigator Bob Harbaugh with the Concord Township Fire Department.

Brower said now she is left to pay for medical bills and her husband's cremation services.

"He's a Navy veteran from the Vietnam War and disabled. We have no insurance or benefits," she said tearfully.

An account has been set up at Mutual Bank in Goshen under the name of Charles Brower Memorial Fund to help her offset these costs.
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