Fayette County

Retired Lexington firefighter killed in house fire

A retired battalion chief with the Lexington Fire Department was pronounced dead after being pulled from his burning home on St. Margaret Drive Saturday morning.

George McDaniel, 85, was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:49 a.m., according to the Fayette County coroner's office.

His death is being investigated as accidental, but the cause of death is undetermined pending the results of an autopsy, which was to be performed Saturday in Frankfort.

Firefighters were called to McDaniel's home at 165 St. Margaret Dr. at about 6 a.m., when a newspaper carrier reported seeing smoke coming from the eaves, said Marshall Griggs, spokesman for the Lexington Fire Department.

When they arrived, firefighters found McDaniel inside, along with "heavy fire and smoke damage on the main floor," Griggs said. The fire had burned through the first floor, leaving holes to the basement in some places, he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

"We're saddened anytime there's a loss of life," Griggs said, but this case is particularly difficult.

"He spent 30 years of his life trying to protect people from fire, only to lose his life in one," Griggs said.

Griggs said McDaniel retired from the fire department in 1981.