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Fire Officials: Autistic Man Killed In East Oak Lane House Fire

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By Tim Jimenez, Diana Rocco

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia fire officials are trying to find out what caused a house fire Wednesday night that left an autistic man dead and two others hospitalized.

It was around 9:30 p.m. when fire crews responded at 6600 North 12th Street. Five people were in the house at the time. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says a mother tried to get her 22-year-old son, he describes as a non-verbal, autistic, young adult, out of the home.

“He panicked. He pulled away. He’s a lot heavier than she was. She was not able to control him. He ran back up the stairs.”

Ayers says it got too dangerous for firefighters and the search had to end.

“Too much volume of fire. The chief officers had to make the decision to pull (the firefighters) out and fight the fire from the exterior. So, we never really had an opportunity to try to rescue this young man. They tried, but couldn’t do it.”

Officials say the young man, identified as Andre Henderson, was found in the front bedroom of the second floor. He was pronounced dead at 12:45 a.m.

The mother and another adult female were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Ayers says two other children in the home were not injured and are being cared for.

The Red Cross says they are helping the family of 12 with financial needs.

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