When Harry Hull visited his uncle Sunday afternoon, Floyd Johnson once again said he thought he was dying.
Less than 20 minutes after Hull had left, a fire erupted inside Johnson’s Spokane Valley mobile home.
The 68-year-old man was dead by the time help arrived.
“He told me, ‘I’m not gonna live long,”’ Hull said. “He said, ‘I’m on my last legs.”’
It was a familiar refrain from Johnson, who worked at a window factory in the Spokane Business and Industrial Park.
In the past six months, Johnson had dropped about 90 pounds. He used a cane. He drank alcohol often, and he smoked cigarettes. Johnson feared cancer in his bones, but he wouldn’t see a doctor.
On Sunday, Hull shoveled Johnson’s sidewalk and took out his garbage.
Hull left the River Rose Mobile Home Park, 2601 N. Barker, about 3 p.m.
A short time later, park owners Jim and Sharleen Hall returned from the grocery store to see 3-foot-high flames licking the inside of Johnson’s front window. Sharleen Hall called 911.
Jim Hall grabbed a fire extinguisher from his truck. He and another neighbor smashed the window and knocked the fire down using the extinguisher and handfuls of snow.
“There was so much damn smoke,” Hall said. “I was looking inside, looking for Floyd, and then I saw a burned hand. … Poor old Floyd. What a way to go.”
Investigators were working late Sunday to determine what had sparked the fire, which scorched the chair Johnson was sitting in when he died.
The Spokane County coroner’s office will determine the cause of death.