• Kyodo

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A firefighter died of heart failure as he tried to douse a fire that destroyed a house in Fujishiro, Ibaraki Prefecture, early Monday, while a 72-year-old resident of the house froze to death after falling into a nearby irrigation channel, police said.

According to police, the fire started at the two-story wooden house of 66-year-old security guard Hideo Ikeda at around 1 a.m. Monday.

Although Ikeda and his 36-year-old son escaped unhurt, Hisao Sato, a 55-year-old firefighter, collapsed while extinguishing the fire. Police said Sato died of a heart attack.

Several hours later, Ikeda’s 72-year-old wife, Reiko, was found face-down in an irrigation channel about 100 meters from the house. Police suspect she froze to death, and are trying to determine why she fell into the channel.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

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