UPDATE: Investigators think fatal La Porte fire started in laundry room
A local hardware store owner died Thursday in a LaPorte house fire.
The victim has been identified as 67-year-old Charles Mares. He's one of the owners of Charles Mares Hardware in New Carlisle.
Officials say the fire began around 7 a.m. Thursday on the 100 block of Maple Drive, which is on "The Island" on Pine Lake.
Five fire departments were called to the scene. When firefighters arrived at the home, they found Mares lying about 10 feet from the doorway. They immediately tried to resuscitate him, but he died at the scene.
"It's been a stubborn fire because it's some distance off the roadway," said Capt.. Michael Kellems of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office. "The weather has dampened the firefighter's efforts."
Investigators said Thursday evening they believe the fire started in the laundry room, perhaps from a clothes dryer. They do not believe there was any foul play.
"Our neighbor's little boy saw it, and he came over and woke us up," said neighbor Don Boody. "I panicked. When you see fire coming out of the windows 10 feet high, you move pretty fast. My wife went over to the other sister’s house, and she’s pretty upset."
The visitation for Mares will be from 4 to 7 PM Sunday at the Essling Chapel in LaPorte. The Rosary will be at 6:30 pm
And a mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Monday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in LaPorte.