Family picks up the pieces following fatal house fire in Portland


by WHAS11

Posted on December 9, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 10 at 6:33 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- An overnight fire in the Portland neighborhood at 22nd and Duncan Streets could be the reason Jay Alvey, 62, died less than one week after his birthday. 

Alvey’s home caught on fire while he was still inside around 11 p.m. Saturday. Alvey was taken to University Hospital, but was later pronounced dead.

It took firefighters about 13 minutes to contain the fire, according to fire officials.

The next day, Alvey's family tried to salvage what they could. His sister's hands were stained with soot and her pain was fresh less than 24 hours after she found out her brother was killed.

Neighbors say Alvey was a good man.

“We never had any problems with him,” said Elashia Neal, Alvey’s neighbor. “He welcomed us to the neighborhood, me and my family. He was just a wonderful person. It is just really sad what happened.”

Firefighters pulled out damaged items from inside the home, which can now be seen from Duncan Street. Beyond that, is a boarded up window to a room where firefighters were able to contain the fire from spreading.

The family believes Alvey fell asleep with a lit cigarette. But officials are investigating to find what exactly did cause the fire.

They say there were working smoke detectors, but that was not enough to save Alvey in a home that has been in his family since the 1950's.

Alvey was the only person inside the home when the fire started.

Fire officials estimate there is about $5,000 worth of damage to the home.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office has not released the official cause of death yet.