Fatal Toledo fire victim's sister voices opinion

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – The sister of a man who died in a house fire Monday morning says her brother may have set the fire to escape financial troubles.

Linda Wurns says the last several years of her brother's life were "very sad." She says 55 year-old Dale Rizor was likely autistic but was never diagnosed. He was the only person living at the family's long-time home at 1812 Welker Avenue, off of Jackman.

"If he would have gotten the help that he needed, he would still be here. But when you grow up in a house and you don't know anything else, and no matter how old you get, you know, you are still a young boy," she said.

Wurns says her brother was significantly behind on taxes and didn't make enough money to catch up on them. And she believes he intentionally set the home on fire so he'd never have to face a foreclosure filing by the bank. Toledo fire officials believe the deadly blaze started in one of the garages.

"There was a detached and also an attached garage and there was fire in all these areas. The house was set back off the road some and there were trees there so it wasn't plainly obvious when the first crews got there that the house was also on fire," said Lt. Matthew Hertzfeld of the Toledo Fire Department.

Fire crews found the victim in a bedroom and performed CPR on the scene but he died at ProMedica Toledo hospital. Wurns believes it was her brother Dale's plan all along:

"It is heartbreaking. We were a large family, loved each other. A huge family. Our parents married forever, both of our parents passed away in this house. A lot of good memories." She added, "This was all he knew, this was all he loved and he wasn't going to leave it and he didn't."

An autopsy is planned for Tuesday morning at the Lucas County coroner's office.

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