Man Killed in House Fire, Daughters Escape

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GRANGER, Iowa-- An early morning fire claimed the life of a Granger man. Half a dozen fire departments were called to the west side of town around 4:15 a.m.

Investigators believe the fire started in the living room around a couch at the home on Jordan Lane. The State Fire Marshal's office said it is looking at whether smoking and the presence of an oxygen pump played a role in the deadly fire.

“When I arrived on scene, the front entryway was fully involved,” said Granger Fire Chief Jarrod Sturtz.

What he didn’t see is that the flames had spread to the attic. Fire officials had to call the firefighters out of the house when the roof started to collapse.

Neighbors identified the man as Jim O’Connor. He lived there with his two teenage daughters and used a wheelchair to get around.

“They attempted to help him to get out, then they realized it was too bad so they grabbed the dog and they got out of there and then he continued to try and crawl out,” Sturtz said.

It didn't take long for news of the deadly fire to spread throughout the community.

“Absolutely devastating. Obviously, knowing the kids, knowing the family. It makes it very difficult,” said Woodward-Granger Community School District Superintendent Brad Anderson.

One of the daughters who made it out alive is a student with the district. Members of the community are doing what they can to support the O'Connors.

“We're all a community. We'll help each other out the best way we can,” Anderson said.

The community has already donated about $2,000 to a fund for the family. A good chunk of that is from the senior class at Woodward-Granger.

Donations can be made to the "O'Connor Memorial Fund" at any Wells Fargo branch.

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