A 79-year-old man died in a house fire Tuesday afternoon in central Iowa. Des Moines fire department spokesman Brian O-Keefe says firefighters were called about 2 P.M. to a blaze in a home on the city’s industrial east side.He says there’s a business right across the street and workers noticed the fire and called 9-1-1 but when they tried to help they found the heat too intense to get into the house. O’Keefe says the residential area is a small one, kind of isolated, half a block with 4 or 5 single-family homes. This small house was a 20-by-40 single-bedroom home the old man lived in alone. The man’s identified as 79-year-old Tommy Booker. O’Keefe says he’d been living in the house for about thirty years. His electricity and natural-gas service had been disconnected for some time and O’Keefe says the man had apparently been using campstove-type propane bottles and also had candles around the house, “a lot of fuel sources in there.” Investigators are looking at those as a cause of the fire. O’Keefe says the man’s daughter came to the scene as firefighters were cleaning up.She said her father was a World War Two veteran and a firefighter remembered seeing a picture in the house. They retrieved the photo, cleaned it up, and O’Keefe says they got to see what Booker had looked like when he was in his prime before he went off to the war. The man’s dog also died in the fire.
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