POTTER TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – Hours after fire destroyed a home in Beaver County, firefighters have located the body of the man who lived there.

According to officials, the fire broke out at a home in the 100-block of West Mowry Road in Potter Township around 8 a.m.

Potter Township Fire Chief Vicki Carlton said an elderly couple lived in the home. Carlton lives a short distance from the home and found the man’s wife, identified as Gloria Mitko, in the driveway when she arrived at the scene.

“Her oxygen tanks were fueling the fires. He also had an acetylene welding system downstairs in the garage that also fueled the fire and their furnace is oil-fed, so we had an oil tank down there as well. So, there was a lot of fuel for the fire to feed off of,” Potter Township Fire Chief Vicki Carlton said.

However, the woman’s husband was unaccounted for. It was hours later, just before 6 p.m. when word came from the scene that crews had pulled the man’s body from the home. A cadaver dog was brought in and located the man’s remains in the rubble.

He has been identified as 75-year-old Mike Mitko.

The intensity of the fire prevented firefighters from getting into the home to search for Mitko and the family dog.

“The house was fully involved,” said Chief Carlton. “We had flames coming out of the front and both sides of the building.”

Carlton also said the man had a habit of going into the basement to smoke in order to be away from his wife’s oxygen tanks.

Throughout the day, family members, firefighters and investigators worked to locate the man, even searching in vain outside the home hoping he had been able to stumble out of the fire.

The couple had been married for 30 years.

The cause of the fire is not known.

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