UPDATE: 59-year-old man died from smoke inhalation in Scranton fire


UPDATE: The Lackawanna County coroner released autopsy results from Sunday's deadly fire in Scranton.

He says 59-year-old Robert Cizik died from smoke inhalation and the fire was accidental.


SCRANTON (WOLF) -- “Its devastating to unfortunately watch your neighbor vanish.”

“That quickly.”

The first floor apartment in this building on the 1200 block of Capouse Avenue is now boarded up, a pile of burnt items sitting on the front step.

Fire officials say flames tore through this apartment just before 3 o’clock Sunday morning.

A 59-year-old man was found dead inside.

He's been identified by the Lackawanna County coroner as Robert J. Cizik, but neighbors know him as Bob.

“I noticed a bright orange glow at the front of the house, so I come out and I realize the house was on fire so I grab my phone to call 911 and in the mean time I start banging on windows. His neighbor was already out, but he wasn’t responding and he wasn’t answering me.”

Donna Hopkins and her husband Nick live right next door.

She says fire crews tried to get to Bob, but it was too late.

“He was the type of person where he’d give the shirt off his back. That’s what I believe. I’ve known him, what, five years now I guess so it took a while for him to come around to us, you know, but over the last two years we became closer,” Nick Hopkins said.

So close that Donna started cooking meals for him.

“I have fish in the freezer I was gonna cook for him, I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce yesterday and chili and beef stew, because he liked to eat. He made me feel good,” Donna Hopkins said.

The Hopkins’ are also helping Bob’s upstairs neighbor who escaped the heavy smoke that clouded the second floor.

She’s staying with her cousin who lives one building down.

Their uncle owns the building where the fire happened and she says they all knew and loved Bob.

“I think more than anything its just setting in that it actually happened. I would say more of us are just wondering like what the heck did happen. What went wrong,” Mary Dougherty said.

No one else was injured in that fire.

Fire officials are still investigating the cause.

The Red Cross was also on scene, providing three other people displaced with emergency assistance.

An autopsy for Cizik has been scheduled for Monday.

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