Another fire in Prince George's County turned deadly. Firefighters responded to an abandoned house on Buck Lane in Upper Marlboro Wednesday morning. After putting out the fire, they found a person burned inside.
It would have been hard to know someone called the old boarded-up brick bungalow a home. There was no electricity, gas, or water. But a while back a man peeled back a sheet of plywood, moved in and started making friends at local businesses.
"He's been hanging here in our area getting ice cream, some other stuff," says Amir Sheikh, a manager at a gas station nearby.
"He was a good guy and he came around one day and asked for clothes. I went home and bagged up a lot of clothes," says Eugene Billuk, a mechanic.
Billuk says he gave the man the clothes yesterday. Tonight he fears the man whose name he never knew die from a fire he likely kindled to stay warm. Firefighters got the call for the house fire after 2 a.m. When they got to the structure tucked into an Upper Marlboro industrial zone, it was too late.
"Fire was showing from every vent that was possible, literally floor to ceiling," says Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.
It wasn't until firefighters went inside to hose down a few hotspots that they found the body. It was burned beyond recognition. Officially, investigators and the fire chief say they don't know who it is or if what happened was accidental. They hope to learn something from an autopsy. They did, however, find clues in the rubble.
"There is evidence there this morning that someone had been staying in the rear of the home," says Bashoor.
It's the latest in a bizarre outbreak of fires in the county, six dwelling blazes since Saturday. Most are related to heat or heating. It's also the second fatal fire this week.