Bobby Rodriguez realized a lifelong dream last week when he opened his own auto-repair and -inspection shop in Hunting Park.
But his dream was tragically short-lived: The 27-year-old Hunting Park man died in a smoky blaze in his home early yesterday.
"He just opened up [the garage]. He had so much ahead of him," his best friend, Alex Cruz, said yesterday, crying as he stood outside Rodriguez's charred rowhouse on Luray Street near Fairhill.
Rodriguez's death was the second fire fatality in two days, bumping the city's fire deaths to 22 so far this year, compared with 23 at the same time last year. A 57-year-old man died in a Roxborough house fire early Monday.