Anthony Varjabedian was killed after fire burned up from the basement through the floor of his Bristol Street home in Hartford early Friday morning.
Neighbors called 911 just after 4 a.m. when they saw smoke, then flames, coming from the house.
When firefighters arrived, the neighbors immediately told them the thought the homeowner, was still inside.
He was, but by the time neighbors saw the signs of fire, it had apparently been burning for a while. Fire had burned through much of the floor and firefighters had to be extremely careful.
It appears Varjabedian was trying to get out of the house but was overcome with smoke, officials said.
“It's awful. I don't even believe it. I still don't believe. Knowing we were outside his house and we couldn't do nothing about it either,” Zoraida Rodriguez, of Hartford said.
“Quite possibly, the gentleman woke up, realized what was happening around him, made it to the kitchen area and then passed out, probably from smoke inhalation,” Capt. Ronald Chance, of the Hartford Fire Department, said.
Firefighters performed CPR and crews rushed Varjabedian to Hartford Hospital, where he died from injuries sustained in the fire.
Varjabedian was disabled because he could not speak and had lived in the home with his parents for about 30 years, until about a year ago, neighbors said. He had been living alone ever since.
Firefighters said the fire was accidental started in the basement but they do not yet know what caused the fire. Varjabedian's death was ruled an accident.
This was the first fatal fire since November 2007.