Richard Morrison, who was pulled from his burning Flanders home by a neighbor a week before Christmas, died on Monday at a friend’s home in Riverside where he had been staying. He was 73.
Friends described Mr. Morrison as a kindhearted man who managed to maintain a positive outlook and demeanor even after such misfortune. He died at the home of Shelley Egan, a friend who took him in after his home was destroyed in the blaze. The cause of death is unknown, though he had recently been hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
Joe Marshall, a Flanders resident, was passing by Mr. Morrison’s Priscilla Avenue home on December 16 when he noticed smoke coming out of a window. He stopped and banged on the door, then helped Mr. Morrison, who lived alone, exit the house just before it burst into flames.
Mr. Morrison, who was treated at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead for minor burns, said during an earlier interview that he felt he would have collapsed had Mr. Marshall not stopped to help him out, and he expressed gratitude for his neighbor’s actions.
Officials determined that an inappropriately placed extension cord sparked the blaze.
Mr. Morrison had lived in the home for the past half-century, he said in an interview after the fire. He had planned to move in with family down south in the new year.
Born in 1940 to Herbert and Anna Morrison, Mr. Morrison was a U.S. Army veteran, and worked for 40 years as a produce clerk at the King Kullen in Riverhead, family members said. He was also a member of the Loyal Order of Moose in Riverhead.
Family members said he enjoyed doing word puzzles in his free time.
Mr. Morrison was predeceased by his parents, a sister, Helen Kruk, and a brother, William Morrison. He is survived by another brother, Frank Morrison of Seattle, two nieces and four great-nieces.
Visiting hours are 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, at the McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, also at the McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home, with interment to follow at Calverton National Cemetery.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org.