Chicago native, 89, dies in Ensley house fire, daughter escapes thanks to neighbors

A fire at this home in Ensley Thursday morning claimed the life of 89-year-old James Thomas Riley. The victim's daughter escape unharmed. (

An elderly man died in a house fire in Ensley Thursday morning, marking the fourth fire fatality in Birmingham in 2014.

Neighbors rescued a woman from a burning home in the 900 block of 19th Street Southwest after a fire broke out around 5:20 a.m., but 89-year-old James Thomas Riley was unable to escape and he later perished in the blaze.

Riley's daughter told ABC 33/40 reporter Bryant Somerville that she was asleep when the fire started and woke up to the loud sound of concerned neighbors pounding on her door.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. An investigation remains ongoing.

According to Birmingham Fire Battalion Chief C.W. Mardis, three of the four fatal fires in Birmingham this year were caused by space heaters.

Get the latest on this story on the news at 5 and 6 p.m. To watch the newscasts live online, click here.

Recent fatal fires in Birmingham and Jefferson County:

Jan. 8:{} Girl, 11, killed in Leeds house fire{}

Jan. 10:{} 1 dead, 1 injured in house fire in west Birmingham

Jan. 12:{} 2 killed, 2 injured in Center Point house fire