75-year-old Sam Adams killed in house fire on 34th and Vine
At the front steps where the front door to his home once stood, a small memorial has been started with photos, flowers and candles.
"He could get out. I just don't know what prevented him to get out. I don't know what happened," said Sam Adams' wife, Elizabeth Adams.
Elizabeth was at work when the fire broke out. She is left with many questions.
"What happened? Where was he at? Was he trying to get out? Did he die before he got burned?"
And recounting their last conversation.
"I said 'I'm heading off, I will talk to you later.' He said 'OK, I'll see you later. I'll see you when you get off,'" said Elizabeth. "It never happened."
One day later she searched the rubble where her home once stood for anything worth keeping. While most things were ruined by soot, she was able to take a few photos with her.
Neighbors say the man who died in the fire on 34th and Vine yesterday was 75-year-old Sam Adams. He was a dad, a grandpa and a good friend. pic.twitter.com/qFc2TF7qIE— Amanda Becker (@AmandaBeckerTV) May 17, 2022
Crews were called to the home around 10:30 Monday morning.
They couldn't get inside to search for Sam Adams because it was too dangerous.
His 12-year-old grandson was also inside at the time, but he was able to get out through a bedroom window.
"He said 'I could've just yelled and maybe I could've helped him.' I said, 'No, because then both of you would've been perished. Both of y'all would've died,'" said Elizabeth Adams. "Because you couldn't have gotten your paw-paw out, you couldn't have."
When fire crews arrived, the fire had already spread to the neighbor's house. Everyone inside was able to get out safely, but their home is also a total loss.
Erica and Charles Jackson lived in the home for more than 30 years. They aren't able to go back inside yet because it isn't structurally safe.
"And then for Sam to die next door," said Erica in tears. "He was like an uncle to me. They are like blood. It's horrifying."
Charles said it's a loss for both families.
"They lost a dad, we lost a friend, we lost our homes," said Charles Jackson.
Milwaukee fire officials have not yet released the cause of the fire. They say it is still under investigation.