61-year-old man dies in Racine house fire

RACINE (WITI) -- A man is dead following a house fire that occurred in Racine Tuesday night, February 11th.

The Racine Fire Department responded to a home on Wright Avenue just before midnight. Upon arrival, officials found 61-year-old Mark Halonen dead in the living room.

According to officials, the fire broke out in the living room and then spread to the roof of the home.

"It's the worst, one of the worst ones. There's nothing left inside, the house is not salvageable. It looks like nothing is salvageable in there, it's pretty bad," said John Vassh, who boarded up the home.

Rich Wagner's house is across the yard from where Halonen lived. He and his wife say they woke up to the sound of firefighters working on the back of the house.

"By the time we looked out our window, as you can see, the family room in the back, I think the living room is in the front of the home, was engulfed in flames," said Wagner.

The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation. However, officials confirm Halonen was a smoker and they did find an oxygen tank in the house. They are not yet certain that is what sparked the fire.

The Racine County Medical Examiner's Office says Halonen died from severe burns.

Authorities say the fire caused an estimated $40,000 in damage to the building and contents.