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Hawaii island man dead after helping put out fire in neighbor's house

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:29 a.m. HST, Sep 14, 2012

NAALEHU, Hawaii » A  69-year-old Hawaii island man died after helping a neighbor put out a house fire.

Hawaii County police say Gerald Erickson was found unresponsive Wednesday outside a house in the Kau district that had been on fire.

Erickson helped a neighbor put out a kitchen fire and as the house began to fill with smoke, he went outside to call 911.

Firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. Erickson was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead early Thursday.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death. Police are investigating. 

The fire appears to have been started by an unattended propane stove.

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