COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 70-year-old man is dead after running back into a burning Columbia-area condo to rescue his sleeping wife.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said Sunday that 70-year-old Harold Morse died of smoke inhalation due to the Saturday morning fire.

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins told multiple media organizations that re-entered his condominium to wake his wife after noticing she wasn’t outside. Jenkins says he spoke to the woman, who said she was asleep. Officials say Morse roused his wife but later succumbed to the smoke.

The fire chief said Morse’s dying act was heroic.

Author photo
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.