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Man Escapes Fire, Dies After Going Back for Phone

It was 'terrible miscalculation,' firefighters say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2014 1:02 AM CST
Man Escapes Fire, Dies After Going Back for Phone
"Nine people out of 10 that return back into a burning building don't make it out alive," a fire department spokeswoman says.   (Shutterstock)

A Texas man who escaped a burning building with his life but not his phone made the fatal mistake of going back for it, firefighters say. Rex Benson, 72, his adult daughter, and another man made it out of their Plano home when the fire started around 1am yesterday, but the two men decided to brave the flames and go back in to retrieve their phones to call 911; a neighbor tells the Dallas Morning News he had to stop Benson's daughter from following them in. Firefighters, who were alerted to the fire by someone's call and arrived within minutes of it, found the house fully engulfed in flames and Benson's body inside, NBCDFW reports. "It was big enough to get your attention," says the neighbor of the fire.

"It was a terrible miscalculation on their part. A terrible accident," a fire department spokeswoman tells the New York Daily News. "I don't think people realize how quickly fire grows. Evidentially, they felt they had the time to go back in," she says, explaining that people should never go back into a burning building—and 90% of those that do don't make it out alive. "This is a notch in the statistic on the wrong end." (In Chicago last month, two men died after jumping into the Chicago River to retrieve a dropped phone.)

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