East St. Louis man’s twin brother dies in house fire

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EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KPLR) - An East St. Louis man died Wednesday night after being trapped inside a burning home he shared with his twin brother.

Family members said Keith and Kenneth Harris were inseparable. Keith and his brother's caregiver were able to escape the burning home. Keith said he wished he could have done more to pull Kenneth to safety.

“Everything was going smooth until last night. Fire became so intense, we could not get him out,” Keith said.

The fire broke out around 8 p.m. on Central Avenue. The brothers were downstairs when the house caught fire.

Kenneth, 57, was pronounced dead on the scene.

“Everybody loved him. He was doing his thing; but he got sick, he had a stroke and he could not move, so we tried to help him. … We stayed together and tried to work it out,” Keith said.

Family members said the brothers shared everything and lived life to the fullest. Kenneth sometimes used a wheelchair after he suffered a stroke a few years ago. Keith broke his hand trying to pull him to safety.

Neighbor Demarco Spraggins also tried his best to pull Keith to safety when he saw the flames shooting through trough Kenneth’s bedroom windows.

“I got to the back room where the guy was, it had already been engulfed in flames,” Spraggins said. “I could not do anything. I kicked through the front door and the bar did not budge. So I grabbed a chair and I got to busting out the windows. But it was so dark in the house; the windows had bars on them also.”

The fire department is still investigating the cause of the fire. The home was equipped with smoke detectors, firefighters said.