Police Identify Victim of Fatal West Haven Fire

A 60-year-old man died in an apartment fire at 11 Bassett Street in West Haven on Tuesday night, according to fire officials.

The victim, who has been identified as Paul Ryan, was set to undergo an autopsy today. Police said the State Medical Examiner's Office is still working to determine Ryan's cause of death.

West Haven Fire Chief James O'Brien said crews arrived to find heavy smoke filling the first-floor unit around 10 p.m. Tuesday. They knocked down the flames and found the man's body while checking the building.

"When I'd seen smoke pouring out, and I'd seen them pumping water from the fire hydrant, then I knew that it was something big, and tehy were there most of the night," said neighbor Joe Diverniero.

The fire has been ruled accidental, according to police, although O'Brien said oxygen tanks may have contributed to the spread of the flames.

"The occupant did have oxygen tanks in the residence, and from our investigation, it appears the oxygen may have affected the path of fire throughout the apartment," O'Brien said.

The state fire marshal and the West Haven fire marshal are investigating.

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