Man dies attempting to escape Ellisville condo community fire

UPDATE: Patrick Hurley, 55, has been identified as the victim in this fatal fire. The cause of fire is still under investigation.

ELLISVILLE, MO - A fatal fire in Ellisville is under investigation by the state officials and metro bomb and arson. Witnesses said the man died while trying to escape the flames and smoke.

Tori Schuchman-Clark lives in the Carmel Woods Condo. She said, “This was very scary for me my mom woke me up saying fire, fire.”

It became even more frightening as neighbors watched the resident of the burning unit try to get fresh air through a third story window.

Gail Coil saw it happen, “There was a lot of smoke coming out and he was in the window hanging one arm and one leg out coughing and yelling help, help.”

Fox 2 employee Dave Earnhart lives nearby and went running to help, but the man’s apartment unit was locked. Another neighbor brought a ladder but it was not long enough. The man could not hang on any longer.

“I think he got so much smoke in his lungs he was disoriented and at some point, he finally collapsed and fell to his death at my feet,” said Dave Earnhart.

Neighbors said the victim suffered traumatic head injuries and died instantly.

Tori Schuchman-Clark was his friend, “I think he was very good to me I know he would always help me with anything I needed.”

There were 74 firefighters from five different agencies on the scene.

“A lot of damage in two floors it was a heavily advanced fire upon our arrival.” Resident Lisa Promod said, “It’s unbelievable, it’s so tragic,” said Metro West Fire Chief Mike Krause.

The loss of neighbor who people described as helpful and kind was hitting folks hard in their hearts. Gail Coil said, “I’ve never seen anyone fall to their death, no, and a friend too.”

The name of the victim, who was believed to be in his 50’s, had not been officially released. Friends said he is survived by two sisters. The chief said it was standing operating protocol to have the state and metro bomb and arson team investigate a fire like this. They had not determined a cause.