PORTLAND — An autopsy is scheduled today on the body of a 43-year-old Portland man who died in a fire in his apartment Tuesday.

Firefighters were called to a third-floor apartment at 65 Grant St., where they found the man engulfed in flames. The man’s clothing apparently caught fire, though it was not immediately clear how, officials said.

Residents in nearby apartments said they believed that the man was cooking. Authorities confirmed that the stove or oven was on in the apartment when rescue workers arrived.

The smoke alarms were working, and alerted residents to the fire. A resident in a second-floor apartment reported the fire.

Firefighters quickly doused the man. He was rushed to Maine Medical Center but was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police said they plan to release the man’s name today, and hope to determine how he died and what started the fire.

Sandy Crawford, who has lived in the apartment complex for many years, said it is fortunate that firefighters put out the fire as quickly as they did.

“We’re darn lucky it didn’t spread,” she said. “These buildings are a hundred years old. If they hadn’t gotten here so quickly, most of these could have gone,” she said, gesturing toward the small complex of buildings surrounding a courtyard.

Crawford described the man who died as a “nice kid” who would share with other tenants some of the sweets and biscuits he was given by churches in the area. He had a long-term debilitating disease, she said.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]