Officials investigate St. Matthews fire; victim identified


by Claudia Coffey

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 22 at 12:29 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Officials have released the name of a man who was killed in a house fire the 3300 block of Willis Avenue Tuesday morning.

Police have identified the victim as 73-year-old Dennis Ridge.

The fire happened just after 6 a.m.

Firefighters battled through heavy snow to put out a house fire. Neighbors say the flames could be seen a block away.

"We looked out of our window and saw huge flames coming out of the second floor," Craig Spears, a neighbor, said.

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Crews from St. Matthews, Harrods Creek, McMahan and Lyndon all responded to this house fire. Neighbors say they knew that one man lived there.

A neighbor actually noticed the fire and ran to the house, knocked on the door. But could not wake the man inside and by then the fire had already gotten too large.

When firefighters arrived they said the fire was coming through the side of the house and it was tough to even get in.

"Our fire fighters had a tough time making entry into the home because of all the debris. The guy had a lot of stuff in the house. So we had to make entry through the side window and found a victim inside the house," Bill Seng, Fire Chief St. Matthews Fire Department, said.

Neighbors knew little about Ridge, who lived in the home.

"Not too well. He was very nice to talk to over the back fence. But we had not seen him much at all," Dr. Alton Neurath, a neighbor, said.

"I think he kind of kept to himself," Spears said. 

Cause still under investigation. Officials say the man did use a lot of space heaters inside the home but they are not sure if that caused the fire.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday to determine the cause of his death.