LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Two new developments in the deadly house fire on Alyce Place in Long Beach. The state fire marshal and Long Beach investigators determined an electrical short in the kitchen sparked the Tuesday morning fire that killed an 84-year-old man. We also learned the name of that man. The coroner says Vadim Astvazaturov was unable to escape the burning home.
Astvazaturov's home on Alyce Place was swallowed by flames, and the scene was a buzz of activity as first responders worked to put out the fire Tuesday morning.
The two survivors were shaken and recalled their escape.
"I grabbed my phone and glasses and the hallway was very thick, and we climbed out of my mom's bedroom window," said John Astvazaturov.
John and his mom made it out, but his father was still inside. Before first responders could make it to the scene, a group of neighbors jumped into action trying to get John's dad out. Jennica Garitty said the situation got out of control quickly.
"We kicked in the door, we punched in the windows, pulled out the frames, and we tried to get the older gentleman out, but the smoke got too much," Garrity said.
Right beside her were her neighbors, Zach Morgan, Chris Williams, and Tina Smith. They had to turn back, knowing someone could still be inside.
Long Beach firefighters battled the towering flames for almost an hour before they were able to start making their way into the home. When they finally did, they found the body of the 84-year-old man.
"It's a sad, sad day," said Williams, standing outside the taped off home.
It was a day that these men and women say will always stay in their minds, forcing them to ask what if.
"What if I could have done something better? What if my arms were a little bit longer to reach in there? What if I could see better? That's the part that's really heartbreaking right now," said Smith.
Their heroic efforts and those of the first responders won't be forgotten in a neighborhood still in disbelief.