The Springfield Fire Rescue Division is investigating the city’s second fatal fire this month.
One person is dead after a fatal fire on Dover Road in Springfield that started early Thursday morning.
Just over two weeks ago, another fatal house fire on Wiley Avenue killed two people.
“This is pretty unusual for Springfield to have three fatals in one year, let alone such a compressed period of time,” Springfield Fire Rescue Division Chief Brian Miller said.
None of the victims have been officially identified.
Officials did say Thursday’s victim was a male.
“We can’t say definitively that it is the homeowner, but we suspect it is,” Miller said of Thursday’s fire.
FIRST REPORT: One person died in Springfield house fire, officials say
When crews arrived at the scene of the house fire in the 500 block of Dover Road around 2 a.m., the blaze was already 50 percent involved.
Miller said he spoke with the homeowner’s brother, who said if crews were going to find his brother in the home, he would probably be in the front bedroom — which is where he was found around noon Thursday. Miller said the man died in his sleep.
He said the coroner’s office will be relying on dental records and DNA to identify the body for certain. Testing could take between two and eight weeks.
Cranes and heavy machinery were used to sift through the piles of debris on Thursday morning through the afternoon. Miller said crews dealt with a possible hoarding situation. When firefighters arrived on scene, furniture and other items blocked access points into the home.
There were “some really tough conditions to make an interior rescue and then we had a tragic outcome,” Miller said.
He said it appears the fire started in the garage area of the home, but an exact cause hasn’t been determined — and possibly could never be, due to the amount of damage.
People in the neighborhood were shocked as the street was taped off and crews investigated the scene.
“We were awakened by pounding on our doors and the door bell ringing with our neighbors who were panicking,” said Dan Beekman, who lives across the street. “We all came out and just began to stand in awe of the magnitude of what was happening.”
Beekman, also a retired Springfield firefighter, said it’s different to see things from the other side. He said all of the stuff piled inside the house posed a risk to the homeowner, as well as crews trying to fight the fire.
“Anything of that magnitude that’s packed in there as dense as that was can also be an insulator,” he said.
EARLIER COVERAGE: Victims still being identified in Springfield deadly fire
The Wiley Avenue house actually collapsed as crews walked up to it with hoses. In that case, it wasn’t clear how long the fire had been burning before someone finally called 9-1-1.
The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is still working to identify those victims as well.
Miller also said the same shift of firefighters dealt with each of the fatal fires, and sometimes that can have a negative impact on their mental state.
A cause of the Wiley Avenue fire was also never determined. Miller said he doesn’t suspect foul play in the Dover Road fire.