Fire crews responding to a possible fire Sunday afternoon at a multi-family home in Chelsea, Massachusetts, found a deceased man inside, Chief Brian Keyes said.
A man in his 80s was found dead inside a third-floor apartment on Chestnut Street, the fire chief said. Firefighters made the discovery after a brief primary search of the building.
It's unclear whether the man died from injuries in the fire or from some other cause, but he did suffer burns, according to the state fire marshal's office. His cause of death is under investigation, the fire chief said.
Investigators were seen walking in and out of the building with dogs late Sunday afternoon. Large birthday balloons were also spotted in the window.
Longtime neighbor Maria Garcia told NBC10 Boston that the man was a widower who lived alone. She last saw him on Friday.
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Garcia, who lives across the hall, says she raced over to the man's apartment as soon as the fire alarms went off and banged on his door, but she never got an answer.
Garcia says while he didn't answer the door, she thought he probably was walking around. There was white smoke but not much, she said.
"When you share 15 years with your neighbor, and you know how gentle he was and how fragile, because he was old, you know? It's like you cannot feel anything," Garcia said.
The Chelsea police and fire departments had responded to the residence for an alarm activation of a possible fire, and there was smoke showing on arrival, the fire chief said. Firefighters made a quick entry, and the blaze was extinguished, according to Keyes.
Investigators say the small fire started in the kitchen, but that's all they know at this point. There's no word on the cause.
The state Department of Fire Services is assisting local fire and police with a joint investigation into the fire, the fire marshal's office said.