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Monroe fire victim dies

Published March 23. 2010 05:00PM

The owner of a Monroe County diner, who was critically burned when the diner was extensively damaged by fire early Monday morning, has died.

Officials said Rigas Ioannidis, 72, died at the Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township, where he was taken suffering from third degree burns over 85 percent of his body.

Ioannidis was owner of the Water Gap Diner for the past 20 years and lived in an apartment above the diner. The fire was discovered about 4 a.m. Officials believe that Ioannidis was probably sleeping when the fire broke out. He managed to get out of the structure and was found by firefighters upon their arrival.

Also destroyed in the blaze were three apartments behind the diner. A family of four and a single man escaped from two ground-floor apartments.

Fire officials from Delaware Water Gap are investigating the cause along with a state police fire marshal. No cause has yet to be determined.

A photo of the fire scene appeared on page 3 of Monday's TIMES NEWS.

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