ST. LOUIS – A house fire in the 8300 block of South Laclede Station Road has left one man dead. Police identified the man as Gene Uetrecht, who is 58 years old.

The fire happened Monday just before 9 p.m. when St. Louis County police officers from the Affton Southwest Precinct responded to a call for a house fire. Detectives said the fire appeared to be accidental and started in the kitchen.

“I was heading down from Weber Road up there, heading down this way, about ready to pull into my street,” said Dale Thielker, who lives in the neighborhood. “And from a distance, I could the street was just lit up with police cars.”

Fire and EMS found Uetrecht unresponsive inside the home.

“There had to be a dozen police cars here, and they had the street blocked off,” Thielker said. “And I had no idea what the excitement was about. I figured it wasn’t a medical emergency; I guessed it was probably like a gas explosion or something.”

Uetrecht died at the hospital.

“We had what appeared to be an accidental kitchen fire. Unfortunately, the resident in the house was the only one that passed away,” said Sgt. Tracy Panus, a public information officer with the St. Louis County Police Department. “We just had the one fatality, but it appeared the fire was accidental and began in the kitchen.”

The investigation is ongoing. If anyone has any information about the incident, contact the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).

The Regional Bomb and Arson Unit will continue the investigation to ensure there was nothing criminal involved. But again, police said the fire appeared to be accidental.