Man dies of injuries in Tallassee's first fatal house fire in 20 - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Man dies of injuries in Tallassee's first fatal house fire in 20 years

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Ben Fritz (center) with stepson Travis Ray and stepdaughter Cassandra Baker. Ben Fritz (center) with stepson Travis Ray and stepdaughter Cassandra Baker.
Tape surrounds the home where a Tallassee man died in a house fire Tape surrounds the home where a Tallassee man died in a house fire
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TALLASSEE, AL (WSFA) -

Officials say 65-year-old Ben Fritz has died from the injuries he received in a house fire in Tallassee Monday afternoon.

Tallassee and Friendship firefighters were dispatched to the fire at 109 Adams St., in east Tallassee at 4:30 p.m.

Fritz, the only resident of the home, suffered serious burns while trying to get out of the residence. He was transported by helicopter to UAB Medical Center in Birmingham with life-threatening injuries where he later died, according to Tallassee officials.

"He used to sit on the front here with my grandmother and wave at people going by," said Anthony Gauntt. Fritz was Gauntt's step-grandfather, but was more like a father to him.

"I would rake his leaves and everything and he would tell me what a hard worker I was," said Gauntt.

The fire chief says Fritz made it out alive but his injuries were too severe to overcome.

"When we arrived on the scene the paramedics were treating him in the front yard and the house was well involved," Tallassee Fire Chief Travis Jones explained.

This is not only the first fire death for Tallassee for 2014 but the first in 20 years.

As of now, fire investigators say all the evidence points to an accidental fire. Investigators are targeting a space heater.

On a cold day the family says Fritz was taking a nap after working all day. Fritz spent his life as a carpenter and had just lost his wife of 20 years one month ago.

Although Ben Fritz is gone the impact he apparently had on relatives like Gauntt remains even in death.  "He was a giver and I'm gonna miss him," Gauntt said. 

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