Courtesy: Morristown Police Department
Officials at the Vanderbilt Medical Center Burn Unit have confirmed to 10News that Eric Dietz, 77, passed away overnight.
He received severe burns on Thursday afternoon when Morristown firefighters said an explosion engulfed his van in flames. Officials said he had third degreee burns on more than 50 percent of his body.
Fire investigators believe the explosion happened when a spark from a leaf blower ignited a can of gas. An intestigation is on going.
Most days you can find DJ and Sons Seamless Guttering team working up on the rooftops of Morristown.
"I can see everything from here [the roof]," said employee Lynn Haun.
Haun, Wayne Swartz, and Derrick Johnson say it's that view that gave them the advantage to offer critical help Thursday afternoon.
"It started out a normal day. Everything was going great and an hour into it, it all happened. Chaos happened," Johnson.
"All the sudden we heard something that sounded like dynamite and I ran up to the top of the roof to look and I saw a van with flames shooting out the window and a guy... trying to get out the window," said Haun.
All three jumped off the roof to help. Haun pulled Eric Dietz, 77, out of the burning van. While Johnson called 911, Swartz wasn't far behind.
"We just grabbed him pulled him out of the way to side of the building," said Swartz.
The explosion inside the van left permanent impressions outside the condo and on the three men.
"I didn't know it was my best friend's dad. I couldn't tell it was so bad. It was awful. It was just awful," said Johnson.
The Morristown Fire Department says after the initial explosion, they would not have advised the men to reach into the van.
But for these men, it was a gut reaction.
"I would do it again. You don't have time to think about it when you see somebody hurt like that," said Haun.
Dietz's family said he was flown to the Vanderbilt Medical Center Burn Unit where he's being treated for third degree burns on more than 50% of his body.
They were extremely appreciative of the men who came to the rescue.
The fire department believes the explosion happened when a spark from a leaf blower ignited a container of gas.