UPDATE: Wendell man dies in early morning house fire, family speaks out

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WENDELL, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — An elderly man died in an early morning house fire Friday in Wendell.

Wendell man dies in early morning fire in Wendell. Photo by KMVT's Elenee Dao

The Wendell Fire Chief Bob Bailey told KMVT reporter Elenee Dao fire crews were called at about 4:45 a.m. to the 200 block of East Main Street for a reported fire and a man trapped in the basement.

When fire crews arrived and tried to rescue the man, the man had already died. The man was identified at Vernon Carter.

"He was a close brother," said Tim Carter, Vernon's brother.

Tim said he was asleep when the got the phone call from a family member, saying that they couldn't find him.

"They didn’t know if he was able to get out," Tim said.

Tim said his brother was a Vietnam vet as well.

"When I got down here at 6 o'clock, then I knew he didn't make it out," he said.

Bailey said the home is likely a total loss due to the fire.

Other family members in the home were able to safely exit the home and no other injuries were reported.

Bailey said crews believe the fire started in the basement. The Idaho State Fire Marshall was called out to investigate and said the cause of the fire was undetermined.

"Make sure you have working smoke detectors. Make sure you have a plan in case they do go off. Make sure you have a family meeting place, have an escape plan," Bailey said.

Jerome and Gooding fire departments responded as well as the Gooding County Sheriff’s Office.

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