A man died in a fire Sunday night at his house in New Gloucester, authorities said.

Raymond Howland, 63, was found dead on the front stairway inside the split-level ranch house at 81 Bluff Circle after firefighters brought the fire under control.

The fire was spotted by neighbors and reported to the New Gloucester Fire and Rescue Department shortly after 9 p.m.

The house was already engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived, and was deemed unsafe to enter, said Capt. Scott Doyle.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office determined that Howland died of smoke inhalation. The fire started in the living room, but the cause cannot be determined, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Family members told investigators Howland spent most of his time in the living room.

McCausland said investigators found that the battery-operated smoke detector in the house did not work. If the detector had been working, Howland likely would have survived the fire, he said.

It was the 15th fire death of the year in Maine.

Doyle said firefighters were not able to attack the fire immediately because ammunition was going off in the house. Fire crews were held back until the rounds had completed firing, he said.

Doyle said there was a van in the driveway but no one outside the house when firefighters arrived.

Doyle said 15,000 gallons of water were used to fight the fire. Mutual aid was provided by first responders from Gray, Raymond, Poland, Durham and Pownal.

“We have entered home fire season,” Doyle said in a statement. “People need to ensure that their smoke and (carbon monoxide) detectors are working and have new batteries. The next level of defense is having your smoke and (carbon monoxide) detectors interconnected, so when one goes off, they all go off. Home fire fatality numbers double during the winter months.”