Victim identified in deadly Middletown fire

UPDATE @ 1:58 p.m.:

A man who died in a Monday night fire was identified as 71 James “Butch” Gann, said Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli.

It is not yet clear what caused the fire.

UPDATE @ 10:15 a.m.

The fire that led to the death of a man on Monday night in Middletown is not suspicious, and the fact that the victim was in a wheelchair played a role in his not escaping, Middletown’s fire chief said this morning.

Chief Paul Lolli said the area was investigated by the department’s canine that searches for accelerants, and nothing was detected. The cause was also not electrical, Lolli said.

Determining the cause of this fire could be challenging, Lolli said.

UPDATE @ 10:35 p.m.: The victim killed in tonight’s house fire on 6th Avenue was handicapped and that may have prevented his escape, Middletown Fire Chief Paul Lolli said.

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The victim’s name and age have not been released.

Crews arriving on scene were told by people in the neighborhood there was a male occupant inside, the chief said.

There was heavy flame and smoke coming from the rear of the house, he said, some eyewitness reports said flames reached 30 feet into the air.

Lolli said the cause of the fire is under investigation, noting it’s too early to speculate about it or the origin.

Middletown fatal housefire

“We’ll let the fire investigators get in. We’ll know more in the morning,” Chief Lolli said.

INITIAL REPORT

A male believed to be in his 70s has been killed in a house fire in the 900 block of 6th Avenue in Middletown, the fire chief said.

The victim appears to have been handicapped and could not get out of the burning house.

Crews were dispatched just after 9 p.m. on a report of a possible structure fire. Crime scene tape surrounds the house. Several pieces of fire equipment also surround the house.

We have crews on scene. We will update this developing report.

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