Big Island man dead after helping put out fire

NAALEHU, Hawaii (AP) - A Big Island man is dead after helping a neighbor put out a house fire.

Hawaii County police say Gerald Erickson was found unresponsive Wednesday outside a house in the Kau district that had been on fire.

The 69-year-old helped a neighbor put out a kitchen fire and as the house began to fill with smoke, he went outside to call 911.

Firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. Erickson was taken to Hilo Medical Center where he was pronounced dead early Thursday.

An autopsy will determine the cause of death. Police are investigating.

The fire appears to have been started by an unattended propane stove.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.