By Al Novack
HARRISON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — A house fire in Gloucester County, New Jersey early Wednesday morning has turned fatal, investigators said.
The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s office says the victim has been identified as 63-year-old Ronald G. Steward.
The fire started shortly before 4:30 a.m. on East Avenue near Main Street in the Mullica Hill section of Harrison Township.
Investigators say Steward and his wife smelled smoke in the house and went downstairs to investigate, finding a fire in the basement stairwell.
Harrison Township police and the township fire company responded and found the house fully engulfed in fire. It was extinguished at 8:37 a.m.
Investigators say Steward’s body was found on the second-floor of the home. Investigators believe he remained in the home to fight the fire while his wife and adult son escaped. They and a family dog were not injured.
Steward was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy by the Gloucester County Medical Examiner’s Office determined he died from smoke and soot inhalation.
The American Red Cross is providing the family emergency housing.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.