Elderly man dies after fire races through Putnam Valley home

A 79-year-old man died only feet from his back door after a fire raced through his Putnam Valley house.

Firefighters were just returning from a false alarm when they got the call at around 10:15 p.m. Monday and responded quickly. However, by the time they got to Harrimac Road, the house was already engulfed in flames. A fire chief received minor cuts to his head while trying to enter the building to rescue James Roche, who died in the fire. Other firefighters were also forced back by the heat and flames.

Firefighters say Elizabeth Roche, the victim?s wife, suffered minor burns. They say the family dog also perished in the fire. The fire is under investigation, but it is believed to be accidental, possibly caused by careless smoking.

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