Center Point man dies trying to retrieve item from burning house

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CENTER POINT, Ala. (WIAT) – Investigators say a Center Point man’s decision to retrieve something from a burning home cost him his life.

The fire started about 10pm Monday. 40-year-old Wendell Smith, Sr. wanted to get something out of a bedroom before fleeing the house. His roommate attempted to force him to leave but Smith ventured deeper into the house anyway. His body was recovered from a bedroom a few hours later.

“When I turned the knob on the door, I lost the hold I had on his robe,” roommate Frederick Samuel said.

“If there is anything that can be stressed with this, obviously lives can’t be replaced, items can, Center Point Fire Marshall Matt Angelo said.

Investigators say the blaze started in the kitchen, possibly by food left cooking unattended.

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