By Mary Spicer
Firefighters arriving at the scene of a fire on Meadville’s Lord Street late Tuesday morning discovered the body of a man inside the apartment where the fire apparently originated.
“The extent of the damage was confined to one room, which was his apartment,” Meadville Central Fire Chief Larndo (Tunie) Hedrick said Tuesday afternoon. Called to the scene at 11:31 a.m., firefighters had returned to their station by 12:45 p.m.
While Crawford County Coroner Scott Schell was willing to say that he believes the deceased was a 37-year-old white male, the identity is being withheld pending notification of next-of-kin, Schell said Tuesday evening. Schell described the victim as having died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation, but he noted that he’s also “investigating some other injuries he had on his body.”
An autopsy will not be performed, but toxicology testing, which takes approximately three weeks to yield results, is already under way.
According to Hedrick, the Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal called to the scene has ruled the cause “undetermined.” Hedrick’s investigation is also complete.
Because the blaze was restricted to its room of origin and was extinguished rapidly, Hedrick said that the three-story wood frame structure at 561 Lord St. did not suffer significant smoke or fire damage. The building, which is divided into four apartments, is owned by Eli Mast.
“Our firefighters did a good job of extinguishing the fire,” Hedrick said, noting that the location of the fire was toward the rear of the structure.